Photography in 100 masterpieces

“La photographie en 100 chefs-d’œuvre” is a photo exhibition that has been going on at the Bibliotheque National de Paris (BnF) since November last year. It’s been one in my list of “Must-Visits” but because of the many overlapping expos, shows and a busy diary, I kept procrastinating until I saw it quickly shown and reviewed on my favorite morning show, Telematin, that’s when I decided to go, same day, despite the strong wind and rain. Oh well, I would be under shelter of the gallery so it’s not a big deal!

The 100 photos on display are just among millions which have been with the BnF’s archives since 1851, during the time when photography was first invented and they came from donations, legal acquisitions and bequests from the artists themselves or their families or heirs. These artists were either professional photographers in their own right, or simply hobbysts or a complete unknown.   


Photographing the works is not allowed of course but I have learned the art of writing down the artist’s name, the title of the work and date taken and with  the help of the internet, I can post some of the photos here.

Join me in this exposition:

Robert Frank
Swiss-American (b. 1934, Switzerland)
White Tower, 14th Street, NYC, 1948


Etienne-Jules Marey
French (1830-1904)
The long jump, 1882


Lee Friedlander
American (b. 1934).
Kansas city, 1965

Along with Garry Winogrand and Walker Evans, they were considered as the masters of early Street Photography

Man Ray
American (1890-1976)
Nude bent backward, 1923

Jacques Prévert
French (1900 – 1977)
Boys on the road, 1948
(This collage was made on a photo taken by Robert Doisneau.)



And last but not least, very fitting to be on the No. 100th of the list is this photo of Emile Zola relaxing in his garden:

Emile Zola
French (1840-1902).
Médan. Self-portrait with his dog Pimpin, 1895

The caption says that this great French writer and journalist was at the time living two lives, one with his real life and the other, with his mistress. It is noted though that this garden where he took the photo is his principal home.

Note: The exhibit is on until 17 February 2013

Fashion watch in Regent Street, London

A trendy fashion statement in this day and age
is the in-ear headphone

For a cold and rainy Britain,
the hood has become an indispensable part of one’s clothing
unfortunately, they are banned in some pubs and restaurants
for security reasons.

The Alfred Hitchcock style

Even cars have become fashionable, too,
at the same time, earning cash for the owner
such as this advertisement for a waxing house

  When you are confronted with a large selection of colours,
it becomes very difficult to make a quick decision

The good thing about wearing a uniform is that,
you are spared choosing the right clothes each time

London is a highly cosmopolitan city,
each one bringing his own sense of dressing into the capital
and in the process, a fusion with a Londonian touch evolves

Where James Bond goes shopping – London Window Shopping Series

My eyes fell to the large letters that spelt “Burlington Arcade” while I was in the process of straining my neck looking at the life-sized statues of famous men (Goethe, Milton, etc) dotting the facade of the Royal Academy (RA). The arcade is just adjacent to the RA as the former used to be the side garden of the Burlington House (now the Royal Academy).

At the beginning of the 19th century, Lord George Cavendish, who lived in Burlington House became so fed up of passers-by throwing oyster shells into his property that he converted this side garden into a covered promenade of shops to be manned by “industrious females”. It opened up to the public in 1819 and was to become one of Britain’s first shopping arcades and despite similarly refined shopping galleries that followed,   it is still considered as the most beautiful covered shopping arcade in Britain.

Since 1819, guards wearing top hats and knee-length coats, they call them the London Beadles, have been protecting  the place, enforcing the same rules as they were, almost 200 years ago, i.e., no whistling, running, opening of umbrella nor pushing babies’ prams. I’m glad that photography is not among these restrictions so I managed to steal some shots.

The Burlington Arcade located in the heart of Mayfair connects Bond Street and Piccadilly Street.  The coat of arms above the arch, put up in 1911, belongs to the family of Cavendish & Chesham where written their motto:   ‘Cavendo Tutus’ (Secure in Caution).  .

Looking at the array of shops the  looks of them implicitly reminding trespassers that “only-the-filthy-rich-must-come-in”, I almost chickened out lest the beadles could read my thoughts that I am there not so much to windowshop but just to photoscout.

 Most of the shops here have established themselves in the retail market since  the end of the 19th century  such as these fine luggages of Globe-Trotter (1897).  

These delicious colours of House of Cashmere are total head turners, hopefully without breaking the bank.

Voila! This is where you can buy an exact replica of Daniel Craig’s sweater which he wore in Skyfall while chasing the evil Javier Bardem yet still managing to keep cool and awesome!
Scoop: he actually bought 25 of the same sweater!  

A must-have for every fashion guru is one of those witty lips-shaped bags of fashion and accessories designer Lulu Guinness.

Hmmmm….I like 25 of the pink one, please!

I’m sure this shoe shine man is making good business in this super wealthy area of London!  His expensive-looking shoes say so.

These macaroons of French patissier La Duree – in order to cope up with the skyrise level of the rental expense – no doubt must cost a fortune, which is enough to take the pleasure out of munching them. 


Exiting this Bond street side of the arcade, I wanted so much to do a repeat of my photowalk through the other end but the sight of a beadle made me realize it’s time to go and move on to my next London destination.

My first brush with a London movie premiere

Time: 5:30pm
Place: Leicester Square

I was meeting H tonight as we were supposed to watch the movie, “Les Miserables” when I noticed a big crowd infront of Vue theater and a number of security people in reflector jackets. Half an hour later, H arrived almost the same time as the Australian actress, Rose Byrne, the lead star of the movie being premiered, “I Give It a Year”.  Luckily we were on a very good spot where we could see almost everything that is going on.

These photos will show what goes on before and during a movie premier..

Waiting for the stars

Last minute preparations: rolling the plastic

and sweeping the dust

securing the lines

and the star finally arrived

autograph, please…

Later on, we decided not to watch the movie as 16 sterling pounds per person is just too much! We will just see it in Paris where it is much cheaper!

London in Snow




Not much customers for this outdoor café  beneath the viaduct in Vauxhall

Despite icy pavements, jogging must go on for these health buffs at Albert Embankment

One’s favorite pastime now is building snowmen such as this one I found under a tree in Pimlico Gardens

Lovers in St George’s Square, Pimlico District

A worker clearing up snow along Jubilee Gardens

A postcard beauty of St George’s Square with the St Saviour’s church in the background

 The now white garden park of St Thomas Hospital is a great place for reflection and making phone calls…

A lovely people scene at the Riverside Walk along  Jubilee gardens

The statue becoming like the color of a snowman  at Pimlico Gardens

The pruned rose garden of St George’s Square buried in snow

The  icy pavements along St George’s Drive  

A tree heavy with ice is just as great as a tree heavy with fruits.