Paris, I love you!

It’s been almost two weeks since I finally moved to Paris. A beautiful and inspiring city, full of light and dreams. This is a magical lieu that has always taken a special place in my heart. And now I know why.

I dreamed of living in Paris since I first saw Romeo et Juliette, a musical by Gerard Presgurvic. I was 14 years old, and in love with french musicals.

Now I’m 25, and I live in Paris. I have a list of comédies musicales I want to visit and people I want to meet; I have the opportunity to spend the whole day in a beautiful studio in the heart of a culinary school (oh, those tartes de citron…) and learn from a very talented french photographer Mathilde de l’Ecotais.

I’ve been told that Paris only accepts those who come here and say: bitch, I’m your master! So… the master’s here, bitch! 😉

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Photography of Denis Brihat

Denis Brihat was born 16 September 1928 in Paris. He works with both form and color. Denis started taking photographs at the age of 15. In 1948, he went to the Rue de Vaugirard photography school. During 1952-1955, encouraged by Robert Doisneau, he started working with the RAPHO agency.

In 1955-1956 Denis Brihat spent a year in India, producing work that won him the Prix Niepce and an exhibition at the Société Française de Photographie. In 1958, Denis moved to Provence, where he settled at Bonnieux to concentrate on his personal research and on the themes of nature. He looks for the inner beauty in nature and shows it to his audience.

In 1968, Brihat started his experiments in color by using metal toning and etching process of the gelatin surface, techniques he tirelessly pursued and perfected ever since.

Denis Brihat’s works are minimalistic, conrtasting, terse, and meditative at the same time.

In 1970 at the request of his friend the American painter Bernard Pfriem, he creates the photography course at the American School of the Arts at Lacoste (Vaucluse). In 1977 he participates in the creation of a photography study group at the University of Provence-Marseille.

In 1987 Denis Brihat is awarded the Grand Prix Photographie de la Ville de Paris.

Since 1988 he stopped any form of teaching to devote himself entirely to his work.

Denis Brihat is famous for the intensity and sensuality of his works and his world view. His photographs are delicate, beautiful and rich. They show the Nature as a living organism, and create an emotional connection, a bond betweet the natural world and the spectator.

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Photographie humaniste of Robert Doisneau

The best photos, the ones that are remembered, are the ones that have first passed through the person’s mind before being restored by the camera.

Robert Doisneau

Today I ran into an article about humanist photography, a style of  French photography that was popular from 1940s until the late 1960s. The guiding principle for this movement was the central place of the human being in the everyday life.

One of the most celebrated exponents of this branch of art was Robert Doisneau (14 April 1912 – 1 April 1994).

At the age of fifteen he learned engraving and lithography, and started designing labels for drug packaging. Later, became a camera assistant at André Vigneau’s studio in 1931. He sold his first photographic story to Excelsior magazine in 1932. Robert Doisneau worked four years as an industrial advertising photographer for Renault car factory. His first professional street photographs were taken during his travel throughout France in search of picture stories for Rapho photographic agency.

During the WWII Robert Doisneau was both a soldier and photographer in the French army, and from 1940 until the end of the war in 1945 he used his skills to forge passports and identification papers for the French Resistance. He photographed the Occupation and Liberation of Paris.

After the war he returned to freelance work for Life and other leading international magazines.

Robert Doisneau died in April 1994 and left behind 450 000 negatives, each with a deep, passionate story of people, depicted there.

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All the world’s a stage

The Fall is quite the time of changes. A new season, a new beginning, a new life.

New theatrical season usually starts in autumn and offers plenty of new fascinating plays and shows to the spectators.

I decided to collect all the interesting musical premieres that will take place this Fall in Paris’ theaters and put them in one post.

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Light painting in the City of Light

Some people may disagree with me, but I really think Paris is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It’s known as Ville Lumière (the City of Light). It was one of the first cities to adopt street lighting, and it kind of marked the beginning of modern urban life. And as photography was once described as “painting with light”, I think, Paris and photography are a perfect match.

Probably, the most beautiful, magical and dreamlike photos of light in Paris were made by Brassaї. His friend, the author Henry Miller, nicknamed him “The Eye of Paris” for his devotion to the city.

Brassaї (1899–1984) was a leading member of French “school” photography, but he was born as Gyula Halász in Brașov, Transylvania, Romania, and took his pseudonym from his birthplace. He moved to Paris in 1924, where he took a job as a journalist. He wrote that he used photography “in order to capture the beauty of streets and gardens in the rain and fog, and to capture Paris by night.”

His first photo-book, published in 1933 and entitled Paris de nuit (Paris After Dark), remains the most famous exploration of the city’s hidden underbelly, and is considered a classic of early street photography. It was also a great technical achievement, as photographers of that era rarely took photos at night. But Brassaї invented ingenious tricks, like gauging extended exposure times by how long it took for him to smoke a Gauloises, to help him take those marvelous photos, he wanted. He called his prints his “little boxes of night” because of the richness and depth of the darkness and light in them.

Brassai also portrayed scenes from the life of the city’s high society, its intellectuals, its ballet, and the grand operas.

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s he was shooting commercial assignments for magazines like Harper’s Bazaar.

He cited Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec as his artistic influence, and was close to many artists: Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Jean Genet etc.

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Would you like to know Gregory Deck a little closer?

Some time ago I posted about French actor and musician Gregory Deck and his eclectic rock band BelHasard.

A lot of things happened since that time. BelHasard released their debut EP#1 (you can download it here), Gregory returned on stage as Jacques in “Salut les Copains“, and joined the troupe of the French version of “The Wizard of Oz” by Andrew Lloyd Webber to play Scarecrow.

We were lucky to ask Gregory couple of questions this spring and get to know him a little better. Not just as a professional, but as a very cute and talented guy.

Many thanks to Inanis from FollowEvent.fr and Audrey Iacometti from Mousai Industries for all your help and participation.

Yé-yé les Copains!

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Last week I posted about rock’n’roll. But talking about music of 1950s and 1960s, I can’t bypass the yé-yé phenomenon.

Yé-yé was a style of pop music that emerged from France in the early 60s, and was not known extensively outside of Europe, until recent films by Quentin Tarantino, Wes Anderson, and the popular American TV show Mad Men. Yé-yé took its name from the onomatopoeia to English “yeah! yeah!”, and the origins of the yé-yé movement itself come from the radio program, and later the magazine, “Salut les copains” (Hello mates).

Most of yé-yé singers were young teenage girls singing French adaptations or songs inspired by British and American rock’n’roll hits. The most recognizable and popular artists of that time were Johnny Hallyday, Serge Gainsbourg, Sylvie Vartan, Claude François, France Gall, Richard Anthony, les Chaussettes Noires and Françoise Hardy.

Even though it may seem that yé-yé is not a big deal, it became a global phenomenon. Maybe because it has this special French charm.

50 years after the launch of the magazine, Salut les Copains and les années yéyé returned to French stage as a musical, and briefly became grand phenomenon à nouveau.

Salut les Copains, le spectacle musical is a catching illustration of history. A story of love and friendship, followed by the sounds of the greatest rock’n’roll hits, interpreted by an amazing troupe of actors, singers and dancers. Jukeboxes, fashion, twist, Concert of Nation and Mai 68.

What can be better than reading about great things? Living, singing and dancing them! So let’s rock’n’twist and twist’n’roll!

 

 

If you’re in France this autumn or winter and want to dive into the musical madness of rock’n’roll, twist and les années yéyé, be sure not to miss this show.

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What do you know about French music? First thing that probably comes to your mind is Edith Piaf, Patricia Kaas, Vanessa Paradis, Johnny Hallyday or even Serge Gainsbourg. But what about something from XXI century? Oh, yes! You’ve definitely heard of Daft Punk or Calogero. But the truth is, French music is way richer and much more interesting, with many layers and amazing bands to bring to light.

I am a huge fan of French musicals, and this constantly helps me make wonderful music discoveries. This was the way I noticed once a great pop singer Christophe Mae, fascinating Nuno Resende and gorgeous Solal with his incredible voice.

This was also the way I found a real pearl in the music sea. His name is Gregory Deck.

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Le Printemps des idées, or French Spring in Kiev

Printemps des idees

It’s been a decade since L’ambassade de France en Ukraine, Institut francais d’Ukraine and Les Alliances françaises d’Ukraine started building a cultural bridge between France and Ukraine by creating a franco-ukrainian festival “French Spring”. Now, welcoming French art, exciting meetings, exhibitions, and warm feelings every spring has already become a good tradition.

Today, the French Spring in Ukraine appears as an embodiment of the desire to create and build together, to find new ideas, share experiences of recent initiatives.

This year, French Spring is the Spring of ideas in Ukraine. Its main objective is to bring new cultural formats in Ukrainian culture, as well as open unknown creative implementations. Festival’s entertaining and artistic events will travel to 9 Ukrainian cities: Kyiv, Kharkiv, Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, Lviv, Lugansk, Odessa, Rivne, Kharkiv.

The event has become an integral part of the cultural program in April, and offers a host of modern French projects, a rich program of various genres and eras, common Franco-Ukrainian projects of visual and performing arts, and a music tour in many cities. It also joins the forces with international festival “Book Arsenal” to bring closer Ukraine and France, guest of honor at Book Arsenal.

Atm, the 11th spring festival Printemps françaisis already in the air. There were no traditional opening street performance this year, but organizers presented a highly intensive program instead.

If you are in Ukraine, find a little time to inspire yourself and visit some of these great events:

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