What I saw at the Salon de la Photo 2011

It’s one of my most-awaited annual events in Paris so even if it was freezing cold and the sky was foretelling of rain, H and I was at the Porte de Versailles early Saturday morning.  Both photographic buffs, we were immensely looking forward to the newbies of the camera world, the lectures, the photo galleries, the photographic opportunities and so on…

So here’s what I saw at the Salon de la Photo:

– The Visual for 2011.


The past years, the visual showed different ladies holding the “camera”.

– Photographers: pro, amateur and enthusiasts with their hubble-telescope-looking cameras


– A photographic exhibition by Venetia Dearden

“As a child, I lived in Somerset. At the time, many people were installed in the region, it was the trend to return to the land. Today, they are coming less and less. It’s a world that is disappearing. There are no more land available and living from day to day is difficult.”

– Listened to the Workshop of Peter Allan

Famous photographer Peter Allan here with his model

– Had fun doing Theatre Photography with my fellow enthusiasts


– Saw Ernesto CHE Guevara’s 1963 photo by René Burri

Photo courtesy of Maison Européene de la Photographie and Karl Lagerfield

– Had a chance to practice Product Photography


and Portrait Photography, but not quite as I couldn’t get near her, there were too many photographers milling around.  This was taken through a glass panel, the only spot I could get.


More on Fashion, but taking her photo while she was preparing for the shoot was more fun!


– The new feminine camera of Nikon.  They also have them in white.


– Many Photo Exhibitions under one roof


– The “Super Heroes” collection of Dulce Pinzon 


BERNABE MENDEZ from the State of Guerrero works as a professional window cleaner in New York. He sends 500 dollars a month.


After September 11, the notion of the “hero” began to rear its head in the public consciousness more and more frequently. The notion served a necessity in a time of national and global crisis to acknowledge those who showed extraordinary courage or determination in the face of danger, sometimes even sacrificing their lives in an attempt to save others. However, in the whirlwind of journalism surrounding these deservedly front-page disasters and emergencies, it is easy to take for granted the heroes who sacrifice immeasurable life and labor in their day to day lives for the good of others, but do so in a somewhat less spectacular setting.


MARIA LUISA ROMERO from the State of Puebla works in a Laundromat in Brooklyn New York.  She Sends 150 dollars a week.

The Mexican immigrant worker in New York is a perfect example of the hero who has gone unnoticed. It is common for a Mexican worker in New York to work extraordinary hours in extreme conditions for very low wages which are saved at great cost and sacrifice and sent to families and communities in Mexico who rely on them to survive.

– The latest Leica telescope


– The latest Canon zoom lens


– Strange gadgets


– A DSLR shoulder support for trembly hands


– A camera strap for the clumsy


I think this is what I need.  I already dropped my SLR 3 times, the reason I don’t have it with me now.  I have been using a Point-and-Shoot lately!  

– Close-up Photography



    – Prints of all sizes


– and great shows like this one


Photodiary – September 2011

Daily Photos

30 September 2011


While H watched the garagiste (mechanic) replaced the car’s dead battery with a new one, I was in the park just ten meters away, practicing my angle shots of this mixed flower display which was hanging high on a lamp post. I thought the colours would better get emphasized if I use the blue sky as the background! Nice!

(Tip: Always bring your camera to avoid getting bored!)

29 September 2011


My name is Sophie Calle
You are standing in my phone booth
Only I know the number
I will dial it from time to time
But completely out of the blue
Hoping that someone will answer.

These letters are engraved on the phone box and if a lucky passer-by hear the phone ringing and picks it up, he or she would hear Sophie’s voice on the other line…

It is called the telephone booth of Sophie Calle.

This flower-petal crumpled paper-shaped work of art was offered by the French artist to Paris, a symbol of communication, the shape of which is distinct from the classic street furniture.
Pont de Garigliano, Paris 15th

28 September 2011

The CNIT* Tunnel of Light

Getting out of the Metro underground and entering the Convention center, you go through this lit-up tunnel that gradually changes colour. I think it’s magical!

CNIT* (Centre des Nouvelles Industries et Technologies or Center of New Industries and Technologies )

27 September 2011

“Interview with the Marquis of Sade” by Noëlle Chatelet.

The book is out. It is getting promoted everywhere, on tv, on radio, on the paper, so when I saw it at the window of this bookshop near Montmartre, I took a photo so I could also promote it here :).

Some of you may already know who the Marquis of Sade is. Born in 1749 and died in 1814, he was a French aristocrat, philosopher and writer whose works depicted sexual fantasies associated with cruelty, violence and blasphemy. Sadism…that’s how the word was coined!

The book is a fictional conversation between the author and Sade where the invented questions and answers were based on Sade’s life and writings.
rue de Clichy, Paris 9th

26 September 2011

That’s Peter Rabbit at France Television studios building.

Only, it is not a painting. Neither a computer pixel art. It is composed of Post-It notes put together to form the shape of the famous hare. They call it Post-It Art and has exploded in the workplace across Paris. Good business, too, for post-it notes distributors!

25 September 2011

We had lunch today at St-Cyr-sous-Dourdan and the sight of these little beans delicately gathered together with a strip of bacon then baked in the oven got me inspired and committed to create the same in my own kitchen. The whole dish was excellent, by the way!
Essone, Ile-de-France

24 September 2011

Is it a spaceship? Is it a giant snail?

No, it is a Mobile Art pavillon created by Zaha Hadid, a Iraqi architect known for his outstanding achievements and winner of the 2004 Pritzker Prize, the Nobel of architecture.

Previously known as the “Chanel Contemporary Art Container”, it is a collapsible, futuristic pavilion which served as a mobile exhibition gallery for artworks dedicated to Coco Chanel and its design was inspired by her iconic Chanel 2.55 shoulder bag.

Through the collaboration of Karl Lagerfield and Zaha Hadid, the pavillion traveled to Hong Kong, Tokyo and New York but had to stop due to the global economic crisis. Chanel wants to sustain this beautiful work of art so it made the decision to donate it to the Institute du Monde Arabe (Arab World Institute) who will use it as a permanent venue for contemporary Islamic art exhibitions.
1 Rue des Fossés-Saint-Bernard, Paris 5th

23 September 2011

The “hands” at number 82, rue Blanche
Building was constructed 1st half of 19th century
Paris 9th

22 September 2011

Van Gogh promoting Absente. Well, he already helped popularize the highly alcoholic drink even when he was alive…..
On display at the shopfront of a liquor shop, Arpajon, Essone

21 September 2011

Drooling to eat this cake, if you ask me, but I get more satisfaction in photographing it. It’s free and zero-calorie!
“Some boulangerie in Arpajon, Essone (91)”

20 September 2011

Our poster of the month……
Seen along Blvd Saint Martin, Paris 10th

19 September 2011

Saw this Panther Kallista parked just outside the open air market of Etrechy and H started feeling patriotic again upon seeing a classic British car in French soil.
Essone (91), Ile de France

18 September 2011

Autumn is the potiron (pumpkin) season and they came in all shapes and sizes at the Fete du Jardin (Garden Festival) in Dourdan.
Yvelines (78)

The 18th century Chateau du Marais is open today for the Journee du Patrimoine.
Val Saint-Germain, Essone 91

Dancing the quadrilles (cotillon)
Chateau du Marais, Val St Germain, IdF

17 September 2011


The first stop of my Journee du Patrimoine weekend is the Senate, I was at the queue as early as 8am, gate opened at 9:30am.
Palais du Luxembourg

The second stop: Hotel de Ville
City Hall of Paris

The third stop: La Cupoule, historic brasserie-restaurant
Boulevard Montparnasse, Paris

16 September 2011

Thank goodness, it’s Friday!…..time to drive back home to Paris! A 5-hour drive yet I just had to be there in the weekend for my most-awaited ‘Journée du Patrimoine”!

Meanwhile, to come up with my “photo-a-day” entry, I took a shot of this Lotus car driving past us on the motorway. What a British legend! Founded in 1952, it won 79 Grand Prix races, beating Ferrari’s 50.

15 September 2011

Lyon is the French capital of tromphe l’oeils so it is not surprising to see this art genre extending to the suburbs such as this brasserie in Oullins.
Brasserie du Commerce, Oullins

The brasserie in full view.

14 September 2011


“L’homme moderne” (statue of the Modern Man), Cité Internationale, Lyon

I reached this modern glass and red brick building without really planning it (it’s a long story) but I’m glad I did. Its architect is the same one who designed the George Pompidou Center in Paris and is a mixed used development combining residential flats, offices, shops, cafes, exposition center, a hotel, casino, cinema and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Men in corporate suits walk about, in between giant statues of penguins and crumpled newspapers. I like the giant orange man with his mobile phone the most.

13 September 2011


This Gendarmerie office in our town is all closed up and abandoned. I took a photo of it now for remembrance. Who knows, if I come back this area again in few years or so, this would all be gone and replaced with a housing development.
St Genis-Laval, Lyon

12 September 2011

I was surprised to see this sole tomb taking up a corner of a 3-way junction just outside our campsite. The name “Sandrine” is written in big letters followed by a date “2007”. I can only conclude that this is a car accident site that occurred that same year.

Normally, bouquets of flowers are tied on tree trunks or street posts to serve as memorial to those who lost their lives due to vehicle mishaps usually through no fault of their own because the offending driver was either drunk or wheel-crazy. But recently, I have been seeing memorials reminiscent of a cemetery. Where we live in Ile-de-France, there is a white cross a little less than a meter high standing off the highway.
St Genis-Laval, Lyon

11 September 2011


After several weeks of deliberation, planning, then the preparation, we finally towed our caravan from Paris down to Lyon where it will serve as our home until H is re-assigned to another “goodness-knows-where!”.

There’s no other way. Renting an apartment – only to vacate it after few months – is oppresively expensive. Since he started this job three months ago, we have been hopping from one hotel to another, packing and unpacking our bags, eating at restaurants practically twice a day as there’s no kitchen to prepare even a bowl of salad.

Living in a suitcase has been a trend in Europe. Corporations are constantly seeking for expansions to other cities and with it, the management and staff have to follow.

The campsite where we are now is populated by people of similar situation. Our neighbour lives just 200kms away but too far to travel everyday so he bought a caravan and chose to camp during the week then goes home Friday evening.

I see one family whose small children leave for school every morning. The father has just been re-assigned to Lyon and the children have to transfer school. They are living in the campsite temporarily until they could find their ideal apartment.

This is the lifestyle which some Europeans live through each time due to constant job movement. We live in a mobile society so we have to adapt while following where the job is.

10 September 2011

I went to the boulangerie to buy some baguettes and sweets for lunch when I saw a sole pink marzipan piggy left sitting on a tray. It seems to be calling me to try it. I am nota fan of sugary stuff but I thought it could make a good subject for my Daily Photos entry, so I did buy it, expensive though at 2.50euros!


How could I refuse its sweet face. It looks moist and delicious already. Sorry, one eye is messed up because H held it like he was scrutinizing a screwdriver.

Nice body. It has even a piggy-looking tail and a pair of piggy large ears!


And the taste? wow! it reminds me of a wedding cake! Lusciously good!

09 September 2011


We are having a delayed birthday (for me) celebration tonight as H and me had been living hundreds of kilometers away from each other this past week: he, in Lyon, to earn a living, and me, in the South of France, to attend to some urgent matters. Well, the truth of the matter is, I desperately needed some solitude while I went through with my 7-day diet soup plan! And I did it with flying colours! Hence tonight is actually a double-celebration: I did lose some pounds and one more year added to my age!

So where is the best restaurant that could make our few euros go a long, long way? Where else but at a Chinese buffet where we can eat all we can for just 14.95euros per person! For a wide selection of nems (spring rolls), appetizers, barbecues, various dishes of duck, chicken, beef and desserts of the exotic kind, we did the right decision! At the end, we were so full it actually hurt! But thank goodness, the Chinese has a magic potion for those who got carried away in the buffet table.

Served in the most miniscule of Chinese cups, this strong but rose-scented liquor certainly is a winner in digesting your food in minutes! I wonder what the “10 points” card is all about. Hmm.. I have to go back to my diet soup tomorrow!

Went on a photo exploration of Arpajon while waiting for H and this coffret of various whisky names caught my attention. I reckon, this could be a most welcome gift for an uncle or any male of importance back home!

08 September 2011

Inside a TGV train

I have been indulging on my one-seater height of luxury French transporter they call the TGV after downing a miniature cup of espresso served by the galley staff when, I started to wonder why the train had been unmoving for like ages!

Just barely an hour ago after leaving Marseille, destination: Paris, it was gliding smoothly in an extraordinary speed and I was relishing the journey, dozing off once in a while when I soon realized that we have been stationary for quite sometime. H would be waiting for me at Gare de Lyon and I cannot afford to be late as the last RER train to home is at 10pm.

Then an announcement started to resonate from all corners of the train. An accident had occurred and the gendarmes have been called in to investigate the matter.

Total waiting time was 45 minutes before we started moving again.

Watching the news the next morning, that incident was actually the headline story. Someone took pot shots at the train smashing a window and damaging the train body. Fortunately nobody was injured. I count myself lucky.

It’s raining apples! but nobody wants them..save for the ants and worms perhaps!

I love apples. I sprinkle a bit of cinnamon over them, roast them in the oven until they shrink and melt with their own juice (30 mins or so), cool them a bit, then mix with yoghurt and honey…voila! a delectable dessert!
In our mountain village, South of France

07 September 2011

It looks very autumnal in Cuneo today

06 September 2011


Nice Promenade and beach.

05 September 2011

The clear waters of the Roya River, here seen passing through our village, travels at a stretch of 43 km before it joins the mediterranean in Ventimiglia, Italy. You may see it very calm at this time in the summer but come Winter and Spring when the snow in the Alps melts, it turns into a ravaging river.
Roya Valley, France

04 September 2011

If our neighbour who owns this house -and this staircase – invites me to come in and climb those steps, I’ll probably shriek in fear, unless she throws in a rope where I can hang like Tarzan..
Roya Valley, South of France

03 September 2011

Photographing the interior of a church sans the flash is a real challenge. The shot has to be clear, no blurriness, hence, for the first time, after buying a mini-tripod some 3 years ago, I decided to take it with my camera and actually used it.
Santuario of the Blessed Virgin of the Assumption
Vernante, Italy

02 September 2011

The altar of the Virgin (framed in Piemontese Baroque style) inside the Santuario of the Blessed Virgin of the Assumption in Vernante. The red and blue ribbons pinned on the grills come from parents thanking the Virgin for answering their prayers for a baby.
Piemonte, Italy

01 September 2011

It’s the official first day of Spring in Australia today and giving daffodils to their loved ones is part of the tradition. In Europe, this daffodil-giving day takes place twice: one at Easter and the other, at the fête des grands-mères every first Sunday of March.

Did you know that its scientific name is “Narcissus”? You will remember from your high school World History lessons that Narcissus was a Greek god who fell in love with himself after seeing his reflection in a pool. Notice the daffodils on the photo, they are indeed looking down as if the ground is the pool!
Photo taken in Kent, April 2006

Nuit Blanche 2011

Last Saturday, 1st October, was one of those moments when I wanted to shout to high heavens, “I’d like to live in Paris!!!!!!…(echo…..echo..)…”

“You ARE in Paris, how close to it do you want?”

“But I live in the suburbs,  40mins by train to the center. It would be nice to be in the middle of the action where I can stay up, wander around from dusk till dawn like what everybody is doing tonight at the Nuit Blanche! Too bad, I can only stay till 12am!  Last train to home goes just after midnight.”

“Well, if Nuit Blance is an “all-night event”, who says you have to go home tonight?  You can definitely stay up all night , be a cultural night owl, join the thousands of people prowling the streets hopping from one art and cultural event to another.  It’s awesome!  Just go home when your train resumes at 5am tomorrow.”

“Gee,  that’s a good idea! I should have thought about that!”


Nuit Blanche.

It is French for “White Night”. It’s that exciting dusk-till-dawn event where the center of the city is transformed into an open art gallery.   It’s like a “watch-till-you-drop” art prowl where contemporary works of art, cultural performances,  thought provoking films, intriguing exhibitions are presented in courtyards of heritage buildings, inside churches, museums, schools, metro underground, public squares, gardens, even in swimming pools!

First launched in 2002, it has become an annual celebration where art and culture reign, with free entrance to more than a hundred venues and is best experienced by ambling. 

Starting at 7pm lasting till about 7am the next day, you follow the cultural trail and as the evening grows, you find yourself inching alongside a jampacked crowd.  The atmosphere is festive and convivial, it’s  New Year’s day without the champagne and fireworks!  

Now let us start the cultural trail:


In the Hotel de Ville (City Hall), a short but highly poetic film was shown about African migrants huddling themselves in dingies or boats sailing into the small island of Lampedusa in Sicily.  While a few souls made it to safety, the doomed ones drowned into the ocean depths.


The crowd watching in the courtyard of the Hotel de Ville.


He performs on the piano while she poetizes and redefines Space by drawing with a blue ink…..
Credit Municipal de Paris at 55, rue des Francs-Bourgeois.


The crowd in the courtyard of the 18th century building of CMP (above).

This is the same spot where the oldest financial institution in the country was founded. Called in those days as “Ma Tante” (literally means “My Aunt”), it acted as a “pawnshop” where people in need of money pawned their valuable items such as carpets, musical instrument, jewelry, glassware, sculpture and in return, received 50% – 70% of the market value of these objects.


Definitely the most popular event that night is “Purple Rain”.  
I took this from across the road through my raised up tripod but still not clear enough.  About a thousand or more people were queueing up here  and I am not kidding! 
Hotel d’Albret, 32 rue des Francs-Bourgeois


This is the “Purple Rain” photo taken from the City Hall’s website.  The artist tried to create an artificial rain and invited the visitor to walk around with an umbrella to experience the colourful environment.

I am really glad I brought my tripod even if I was just using a point-and-shoot.  It gave me a high vantage point photographing the crowd!

This is the crowd just outside Hotel d’Albret, no space even to drop a pin!


A futuristic sculpture which portrays the artistic effect of combining plastic art, dance, music and video, displayed at the medieval Monastery of Billettes, 24 rue des Archives.


The church of Notre-Dame des Blancs-Manteaux packed with people wanting to watch and listen to the concert of the 150-member choir composed of students from the National Conservatory of Music and joined by young singers who are physically or mentally handicapped.


A sculpture in blocks comprising of freestanding arches of different heights, bent to the limit of rapture and collapse.  This artwork gives different effects of scale and proportion depending on the angle of view.  It effectively illustrates what sculpture and architecture is all about. 
Bibliotheque Historique de la Ville de Paris (Historic Library of the City of Paris
24, rue Pavée.

Saw this thick crowd of muscular men in rue des Archives. Just men! I wonder if they are queueing up for an audition!

One can also spend the whole night just sitting inside his car, unmoving, in the streets of Paris.  That’s what happens when you choose to drive rather than walk during the Nuit Blanche.