Yearly Archives: 2008

Scanno by Mario Giacomelli and Henri Cartier-Bresson

Mario Giacomelli
Mario Giacomelli

Mario Giacomelli

Mario Giacomelli

Mario Giacomelli
Henri Cartier-Bresson
Henri Cartier-Bresson

I have wanted to visit Scanno in the Italian mountains of Abruzzo since the first time I discovered the photos of Henri Cartier-Bresson in the fifites with their magical composition and the extraordinary clothing of the women and men. A couple of years later the poetic photos of Italian photographer Mario Giacomelli stopped me in my tracks and bingo they were taking in the 60’s in the same town. I always asked myself how Mario Giacomelli was lucky enough to find a bunch of dancing priests in the snow! The photos go down as some of the most innovative photos taken during the 60’s in Italy with their high contrast black and white more a graphic than a photo. On Monday I am finally leaving for Scanno. I am sure life has moved on but I hope to find a little of the magic that these two great photographers found in this tiny mountain village in Abruzzo.

Sabine Weiss at the MEP

Sabine Weiss Half a Century of Photoography 5 november 2008 – 25 january 2009

Sabine Weiss is the female counterpart to Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Doisneau and the Werner Bischofs. Sabine Weiss has been photographing people with the same unflaggingly tender curiosity for the past 45 years. A member of the Rapho agency since 1953, she has become associated with a line of so-called ‘humanist’ photographers who played a key role in the history of the 1950s and 60s. She has produced many fashion pieces and portraits of celebrities and artists for Vogue magazine, and in addition to her commissioned work she has always made pictures ‘for herself’. She has gradually turned almost exclusively to black and white reportage, a medium that expresses the relationship between Man and his world more ‘calmly and simply’ and which captures the ‘plenitude of light’ that has been her obsession. If you are in Paris in January Half a Century of Photography is a touching exhibition at La Maison Europeene de la Photographie devoted to Sabine Weiss.

Christmas rue Castiglione

I have always been a tiny bit obsessed each year with the Christmas lights in Rue Castiglione in Paris. This year is no exception. I promised myself I would move on to new ground but I couldn’t resist a couple of shots. I took this one last night. Carla

Surviving Christmas Give away

Christmas lights in Rue Castiglione 2008 Paris Tango, Italian Joy and My French Life Window WH Smith

Christmas has traditionally been a time of year I would rather avoid. When I was a child it was the time of year we lived for. The excitment of Christmas day was almost unbearable. As the years passed my feelings for Christmas changed. It was a reminder each of year of what my life had not become. I would trot off to my family Christmas each year (without the family) a kind of ground hog dog for me. All my sisters and brothers’ lives were progressing beautifully, wonderful husbands, beautiful children and lovely homes. I was still eating Thai takeaway in a one bedroom flat, driving the same route to work each day and coming home to an answering machine in the evenings.

It was also Christmas when I received the fatal 1999 Best client of the year present from my local Thai takeaway and I realised I had to change my life. I packed up my business, my career, my apartment and I moved to Italy.
That was almost nine years ago and so much has happened in between. I jumped in at the deep end and became a photographer, studying photography in an Italian arts school and spent the first four years living in Florence. I met the divine Francesco and in 2004 we moved to Paris and this Christmas I have officially survived eight years as a freelance photographer in Europe – now that’s something to celebrate!!
Two nights ago at WH Smith on rue du Rivoli ,on the corner of rue Cambon (love that address) I celebrated the Paris Launch of Paris Tango with all my lovely friends and the wonderful Parisians who star in the book. The past eight years of chipping away at the coal face everyday were forgotten for a night.
This Christmas instead of dragging my heels at the sound of the Bing Crosby tunes I am celebrating. I would love to giveaway the collection of books that have helped me survive these past eight years, Italian Joy (the story of leaving my life), My French Life (a collaboration with Vicki Archer on the beautiful home she has created in Provence) and now Paris Tango (a book about the people that make Paris tick).
To go in the draw all you have to do is subscribe to carla loves photography click here (don’t forget to confirm when you receive the email). The winner will be drawn on 12th December so you will have the books in time for Christmas! If you want a second chance to win visit Vicki Archer over at French Essence.
Have a wonderful Christmas
Carla x

Serge Gainsbourg

It is exactly four years to the day that I arrived in Paris. One of the very first things I did during my first winter in Paris was read the Serge Gainbourg biography A Fistful of Gitanes by Sylvie Simmons about France’s most loved Singer, composer, poet, writer, actor and director. I loved the book and even more the enigmatic Serge Gainsbourg and his colourful life, wonderful music and loves. Even today when I ask young Parisians what they think about Serge they always answer ‘tres cool’. Any guy that that can claim the gorgeous Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin as their girlfriends has to be doing something right and he has inspired a legion of photographers including the elegant french photographer Jean Loup Sieff. Tomorrow I am heading out of town to catch the exhibition titled Gainsbourg 2008 at the Cite de la Musique. Serge Gainsbourg (1928-1991) was an artist who, throughout his life, used images, and his own in particular, in all their forms, creating an aesthetic world which broke down the walls between “major” and “minor” arts.
An excerpt from A Fistful of Gitanes by Sylvie Simmons.
When Serge Gainsbourg died in his bedroom on March 2 1991, a month short of his 63rd birthday, France went into mourning. Brigitte Bardot, who had been his lover, gave a eulogy; President Mitterrand, who wasn’t, gave him one too. He was “our Baudelaire, our Apollinaire”, said the head of state. “He elevated song to the level of art.” Flags were flown at half-mast – a less fitting symbol for the priapic pop genius than the bottles of whisky and Pastis and packets of Gitanes cigarettes left as tributes by the crowds who descended, à la Princess Di, on the police barricades erected around his home on the Rue de Vernueil.
“Ask anyone in Paris,” said Nicolas Godin of the French band Air, “and they can remember what they were doing when they heard Gainsbourg had died. It was such a shock. Because he was always there, part of our culture. He was always on the television doing something crazy. He was a poet. He was a punk. And he wanted to fuck Whitney Houston.”
The man who looked like an elegant turtle cross-bred with a particularly louche, chain-smoking wolf was also a singer, a songwriter, a cutting-edge soundtrack composer, a Eurovision Song Contest winner, novelist, photographer, actor, artist, drunk, director, screenwriter, populist, provocateur, sentimentalist, clown, lover, intellectual, and the man who single-handedly liberated French pop. In spite of – or because of – a singular dedication to cigarettes, alcohol, sensuality and provocation (his infamous “I want to fuck you” offer to fellow-guest Houston on a French family TV show combined all four), his musical output over more than three decades was staggering.
It encompassed a variety of reinventions that made David Bowie look stereotyped – classical, chanson, jazz, girl-group pop, rock, reggae, disco and funk. He displayed a profound knowledge of, and respect for, tradition, while simultaneously giving it two fingers, then used all these disparate things to make something unique.
His lyrics were mind-boggling exercises in Franglais, triple entendres and rhythmic, onomatopoeic word-percussion. Literature, sexual obsession, farting, incest, philosophy, grammar, cabbages, Nazi death camps and the Torrey Canyon disaster were all considered perfectly reasonable subject matter for his songs, which were whistled in the street and printed in poetry books that were studied in universities. And yet on this side of the Channel, Gainsbourg is really known for just one song: his 1969 number one hit with Jane Birkin, Je T’Aime . . . Moi Non Plus.
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