Perhaps Paris is the most photographed city in history. Some say it's New York, so let's put it this way: Paris is being photographed for way longer. In fact, the first picture ever made of an urban scene was in Paris.
For more than one hundred and fifty years Paris is being photographed in a daily basis. Millions of pictures taken of everything (or it was just me?) but mostly of the Paris icons. How can anyone go to Paris and not photograph at least one of the icons? There is no way. And if you happen to be a photographer, and have all those pictures in your mind, of all those photographers that you love and respect, printed on all those books that you cherish, how do you photograph those icons that you cannot not photograph?
People say things about Paris ever since I was a child. And then you watch all those movies, read those books, and Paris becomes a world wide mind fetish, and we all (well perhaps not all of us, you know) think about Paris, eventually. For those who do not like Paris, maybe it's better if you stop reading right now. Paris is a fetish, and people have pictures in their walls at home, people cannot help themselves - myself included - they have to photograph Paris icons, we venerate the Eiffel Tower, and I do not know why. Should we care? it feels good, right?
I like Paris ever since I read the Three Musketeers, when I was a kid. And all those stories they tell about it in school were illustrated with Eugene Delacroix an Jacques-Luis David's pictures - and ever since I can remember, I do like Paris. Then when I became interested in photography - I was 12 - slowly I've learned the history of photography and fell completely in love with Eugène Atget, and then Brassaï, and Doisneau, and the list goes on, and the years too, and the passion just grew, along the need to go there.
So when finally I was there, all the respect that I already had for all those masters and their masterpieces was definitively established for good: Paris is the easiest and most difficult city to photograph in the world.
That's an opinion, not a fact, based on my belief that even though every picture one's take looks awesome (do they really?), for me there is always the challenge and the thrilling fact that I would like to make something - not different or original - that I felt happy with the approach, the process.
More than take (and own) a picture of some Paris icon, for me the most important thing was the respect for what I was photographing and it's history and meaning, and the feeling of the process, not just the result, but feeling good and nice, with no compromise of doing nothing, achieving anything. The result was that I really liked my pictures and felt real good during and after the photographs.
The result was not the end game, the goal was the way, the process of making the photographs, not the photographs themselves, is what really makes me feel good. That split second. And, of course, all those books that I have.
So if it's difficult, easy, or whatever it is, photograph Paris is a fetish for photographers, or it was for me, at least. Paris Icons is an on going project that I've created, and that will demand a couple of trips more, but it's ok. We will always have Paris.
more photos: http://www.andrecavalheiro.com.br/Paris-Icons