On This Spot is a history blog that focusses on then and now photography, comparing historical and contemporary photographs of the same locations. Locations include cities and battlefields in the UK, Germany, France, Japan and Canada.
365 Parisians by fellow Parisian (born in Kazakhstan, raised in Spain) photographer Constantin Mashinskiy: I decided to take one street portrait, every day, of a random Parisian stranger until I had reached 365 pictures, and met 365 people. Mashinskiy at work in the streets of Paris and short interview.
Everyday is Sunday (Tous les jours dimanche) is a series of surreal pictures taken by photographer Manolo Mylonas in the poor and tumultuous Department of Seine-Saint-Denis, where he lives (interview in French). For those who wonder about the sheep herd on a concrete ramp, they are part of an experiment in urban agriculture (in French, other pictures). There's no explanation for the horse on the balcony, but this is probably how it got there.
PhotosNormandie is a collaborative collection of more than 3,000 royalty-free photos from World War II's Battle of Normandy and its aftermath. (Photos date from June 6 to late August 1944). The main link goes to the photostream. You can also peruse sets, which include 2700+ images from the US and Canadian National Archives.
Brutal Baroque: An Ode To Midcentury Modern Churches: French photographer Fabrice Fouillet traveled across Europe photographing some of the most important examples of postwar churches, creating a catalogue of the spaces called Corpus Christi. [more inside]
Paris in Motion is a beautiful time-lapse stop-motion video by Mayeul Akpovi.
A liquor store in Amsterdam. A veteran in Bagdad. A family in Rome. A WWII veterans memorial in Berlin. A house in Oxford. Edouard Levé photographed towns in the United States that shared names with famous cities. He photographed fully-clothed actors reenacting scenes from rugby and pornography [nsfw]. He also wrote some novels, influenced by Oulipo. Autoportrait, describes his life in 120 pages of unordered vignettes and brief, declarative sentences—"The girl whom I loved the most left me. [...] I am uneasy in rooms with small windows." and so on. His fourth novel, Suicide, is a one-sided conversation between an anonymous narrator ("I") and his friend ("you"), who committed suicide twenty years ago. It's a painfully intimate meditation on the act and its fallout on its own merits—"Your life was hypothesis. Those who die old are made of the past. Thinking of them, one thinks of what they have done. Thinking of you, one thinks of what you could have become. You were, and you will remain, made up of possibilities."—but few will read Suicide unburdened with the knowledge that Edouard Levé killed himself several days after completing it, at the age of 47. [more inside]
The Solitary Walker - a blog (mostly) about walking.
Campaigning MP Valérie Boyer, a member of Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP party, has put forth another controversial bill to address the role of the fashion industry media in portraying healthy body images. Boyer, who wrote a government report on anorexia and obesity, is currently proposing "health warnings" on digitally altered photographs of people, stating that the image was "digitally enhanced to modify a person’s body image." The previous bill supported by Boyer and others came in April 2008, when France's lower house of parliament passed a bill that would make it a crime to promote "excessive thinness" or extreme dieting,. The bill would empower judges to punish with prison terms and fines of up to €45,000 any publication (including blogs), modeling agency, or fashion designer who "incites" anorexia. That bill, which followed closely after key members of the French fashion industry signed a government-backed charter, came under fire from fashion designers and some politicians. French fashion and politics weren't at the front of this effort, with Madrid's fashion week turning away underweight models in 2006, facing concerns that girls and young women were trying to copy their rail-thin looks and developing eating disorders.
Normandy: Then and Now Photographs of Normandy in 1944 meticulously juxtaposed with how the area looks today by French historian Patrick Elie.
The Roma Journeys - contemporary photographs of Roma life in Hungary, India, Greece, Romania, France, Russia, and Finland by Joakim Eskildsen. For more photo essays and info on the Roma, see two superb prior posts by plep and taz.
In the South of France you'll find the fortified city of Carcassonne, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and a classic example of the medieval fortified city. Built upon the ruins of forts that predate Christianity, Carcassonne is one of the most photogenic places I've ever seen, never more so than on Bastille Day, when the city sets the night sky ablaze. A full gallery of Carcassonne fireworks can be found here.
Ahmad Nadalian's work can be found all over the world. He is an artist that carves symbols on rocks and then leaves them at the site where they were created (sometimes burying them).
French photographer Cedric Delsaux takes pictures of Star Wars characters (in figurine) and superimposes them onto French architecture, with interesting results.
Copyright to the Revolution (translation): "On Wednesday, 9 July 2003, the superior court of Paris banned a poster campaign launched by the group Reporters Without Borders to protest the totalitarian policies of Cuba. This campaign, designed by the agency Rampazzo & Associates, was built around an iconic image of Ernesto Che Guevara, inspired by the original image by the Cuban photographer [Alberto] Korda. The decision came in a suit brought by Diane Diaz Lopez, the late photographer's daughter, accusing the organization of misappropriating the original image taken by her father." The poster reads: "Welcome to Cuba, the world's largest prison for journalists." Korda had sued in 2000 to prevent use of the image in an Absolut vodka campaign. An article at Uzine (French) shows how the image in question was composited.
The Vertically Inclined Photographer: Shooting Paris, Rome, the French Riviera and the Loire Valley from a low-flying plane is Patrick Durand's photographic obsession. It's an interesting flat alternative to Horst Hamann's [click on "Gallery" and go to "New Verticals"] tall vertical New York. There's something very exciting about looking at familiar sights from an unfamiliar point of view. [Both sites very, perhaps too Flash.]