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Photos, film, & the Opera Garnier

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

In this podcast, we celebrate the holidays with a stroll past the Opera Garnier--one of my favourite buildings in Paris. This is the beautiful sculpture, LA DANSE, which caused such scandal. The stained glass, however, is not the Opera--it's the dome of Galeries Lafayette department store. (Click on the photo to see a larger verion.)

The Grands Boulevards was once splashed with bright flash photography lights: this is the top-floor photography studio on blvd des Capucines. Notice the "Nadar" sign across the front, in the b&w photo; the modern photo of the building shows the added top floor. I'm also including a wonderfully louche self-portrait of Le Gray. He looks like the sort of guy you'd want taking photos at a party... but not the guy you'd trust with your money. On the other hand, here is Nadar and his wife Ernestine. This was a staged photograph in the studio--Nadar was obsessed with hot air balloons. I love Ernestine's expression here. Plus, a Nadar portrait of Impressionist painter Edouard Manet, looking very serious in 1869. The portrait was probably taken at this studio, as Nadar often photographed his friends here. If you're curious about my claim that the LUMIERE BROTHERS made films the way we make silly videos today, check out their film of a staged snowball fight, 1897, in Lyon, here on youtube. It has been colorized & feels extremely contemporary.

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