Tuesday, 21 December 2010

This photo belongs to the collective memory of our district

Following on from my post on Patrice de Moncan's Paris Avant/Après book comparing Charles Marville's photos of Paris with pictures taken today, I was interested to come across a similar project organised by 'Belleville mon amour', an association set up to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the 20th arrondissement.

Rather than create a book and compare photos, the group have placed large-scale historical photos at key points around the arrondissement, enabling passers by to make instant comparisons themselves. Beneath the photo is a simple message;

"Cette photographie appartient à la mémoire collective de notre quartier. Merci d'en prendre soin" (This photo belongs to the collective memory of our district. Please take care of it).

It is fascinating to think of a photograph as belonging to the particular area in which it was taken. Marville was hired to document the changing city of Paris, but did he think how people would interact with his photos in the centuries to come? He was operating at a time when the technology was in its infancy, but must have been aware of its potential. Thousands of years of history before him had been words, paint, stone, dust. Now the city could be frozen and imprinted into our collective memories.

1 comment:

Peter said...

Nice to find some of these old photos (also referreing to your preceding posts)! I'm happy to have really discovered this area lately!

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