Tuesday, March 4, 2014

middle of august 1839

Paris - does it change or is it true to everyone's imagination? it's romantic, elegant, beautiful, artistic. Paris is overloaded with a powerful iconography, like a curtain of photographs that influence our imagination and block our view on a more down-to-earth reality. but is this that bad?

i think that dreams and high expectations are a key to happiness. to aim high and dream big and just to have dreams and to accept the fact that they'll probably never fulfill. it's more important to have dreams than to accomplish every single one. although one should search for possible dreams - little, simple ones that are easy to reach, just in order to have reached something and to prove to oneself that you can reach what you dream for.

for me, that was applying for an assistant job for well-known photographers when i was 17. my mail roughly sounded like that: " hi! i'm 17 and into photography. can i come to new york/los angeles/london/barcelona/stockholm?".. okay, that was more the "dream big and unrealistic"-part than the "reach little dreams"-advice. but surprisingly, i really got a job in london at a photographer's studio and it was a great experience. i keep the contact until today and i am happy that i just tried. 
i could call it my next milestone - trying to reach for the stars, even when it's unrealistic that i get there. 

i don't mean that you should be unrealistic and ignore every bad thing (about Paris or your life, ...). being down-to-earth and realistic is something one should value and aim for. but i don't think that that means you should give up unrealistic and big dreams - no matter how old you are. i hope that i remember that.

why i'm naming this post "middle of august 1839"? do you know what a daguerreotype is? in case you don't: it's the first photograph, the first picture made of/with light and it was presented to an unbelieving, wondering and suspicious public - guess when and where... 

this date marks, well, kind of the start of the photographic era. 
(and the beginning of l'amour between Paris and photography .. cos' i'm p and p, i'm dynamite .. )

everyone was now able to reproduce the great architecture, the great monuments. something that only painters were able to accomplish before .. almost. it was cheaper, faster - just the right thing for a hungry population. everyone was fascinated by its rich details and its (assumed) objectivity. these people began to dream big in public, they tried to make their city eternal and memorable. when there was everything new at the beginning, the perspectives and angles some photographers found quickly spread around other countries - and with them, a public image of Paris was created. 

for me, the cities' image created before through illustration on magazines and posters, was formative .. and by the way, pretty beautiful, too. see:

when i think of Parisian women i think of elegant, classic fashion at the same time. thanks to these great illustrations which formed my imagination of good, old Paris. and OF COURSE, these great pictures that you never can see enough of and that are every single time other than the once made before ... ugly, ha? yeah, you're not the first one thinking that.

so ... dream big, folks.

credits: illustration above from designlovefest and it's for free download! // old illustrations are from a random google image search but you can find a lot of great historic + modern postcards of VOGUE right here

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