Richard Nahem, an ex-New Yorker living in Paris, leads private insider tours showing visitors the Paris most of them never see on their own (www.eyepreferparistours.com), and also writes a popular insider's blog www.eyepreferparis.com. Here, we present the first in a series of his blogs, live from Paris.
Ever since Richard Avedon came to Paris in the 1940s to shoot fashion photos for Harpers Bazaar on the streets and in front of its magnificent monuments, the city has become the inspiration for great fashion photographers to create their most memorable images.
This fall, Paris is celebrating two prolific fashion photographers who have very contrasting styles with two terrific shows.
Paris-born Patrick Demarchelier has been a top fashion and celebrity photographer for over three decades, snapping everyone from Oprah to Gisele Bundchen. Even with over 400 photographs, his show, called "Images and Fashion," at the majestic Beaux–Arts Petit Palais only represents a small fraction of his enormous output. Madonna in a black cap with a cigarette hanging out her mouth, Tom Cruise with long stringy hair, and Scarlett Johansson with her sweeping blond mane are just some of the instantly recognizable iconic images. The wonderful series of Princess Diana and a candid photo of a relaxed Paul Newman sitting in his barn bring a tear to the eye in remembrance of two our most beloved stars. You will also recognize Demarchelier’s work that has graced all the best fashion magazines including Vogue, Elle and Glamour with revealing shots of the first wave of super models Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, and Christy Turlington.
In a much more personal vein, the David Seidner show at the Pierre Bergé–Yves St. Laurent Foundation, a former private 19th-century mansion, shows the more serious and artier work of the photographer, rather than the glamorous fashion photos he was best known for. When Yves St. Laurent hired him to shoot his collection in the early '80s, he was the youngest photographer to ever photograph one of his campaigns and successfully created gorgeous ads for Bill Blass, Ungaro, Christian Dior, John Galliano, and Lanvin.
A series of haunting black and white, full-faced portraits of artists Louise Bourgeois, Jasper Johns, Joan Mitchell, Brice Marden and Jenny Holzer in a black room and a contrasting white wall with still life portraits of orchids bursting with pure color are the highlights of this provocative and meticulously crafted exhibit. David Seidner unfortunately died at the peak of his career eight years ago, and the show is the first major retrospective of this brilliantly talented photographer.
These are two must-see shows in the fashion capital of the world.
What: Patrick Demarchelier's "Images and Fashion"
Where: Petit Palais, Avenue Winston Churchill, 75008
When: Open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, except Monday, through January 4, 2009
Metro: Champs-Elysees Clemenceau
Telphone: 01 53 43 40 00
What: David Seidner's work
Where: Foundation Pierre Berge- Yves St. Laurent, 5 Ave. Marceau, 16th arr.
When: Open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, except Sunday, through February 1, 2009
Metro: Alma Marceau?
Telephone: 01 44 31 64 31