When I think of Paris, there is one image which stands out. And no – it is not the Eiffel tower or Louvre or any other postcard pretty image.
La grandmère des toutes les femmes fatales
In the inter war period when Paris became famous for the bohemian lifestyle of the artistic and intellectual elites, Hungarian photographer George Brassaï made a book called Paris de nuit with photos of the life in Paris at the time.
Now, though I love taking pictures, I have rarely engulfed in studying the big and famous photographers, but Brassaï I know … and love. His photos from the Parisien night life speaks to you in a utterly human and intimate way. I first saw an expo with his pictures a few years back in Copenhagen and have since then many times returned to one particular image of what I consider la grandmère des toutes les femmes fatales.
There is something about this lady and all her pearls and diamonds and the run down and hard face that tells a story of a life long lived. When I look at her, I think of Paris. To me, she and the rest of Brassaï’s captivating photos of the bohemian life of the inter war period, represent Paris. In the midst of all the romantic myths of Paris hides the ugly truth which in my view is even more beautiful.
I feel as if, even though we are writing 2012, the atmosphere of Paris, the smell that is in the air and the lights in the night are a continued echo of what Brassaï immortalised through his camera.