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"Don't Be A Moana, Eiffel!"

The world's most famous picture and the world's most famous building, side by side, for Paris Set Me Free viewers' delectation - now don't say I never do anything for you...

Sorry about the ragged sticky tape and rather dishevelled appearance of said icons. Not my fault. Out of my hands.

Still, Lady Lisa doesn't seem too put out by her somewhat undignified predicament, and as for Mona Eiffel, she's bashfully hiding her nether regions behind a convenient awning and we can only presume she's not too impressed.

Key points
Symbols & Icons

One of the best ways of giving a sense of place to a photo is to include some well known aspect of the city, and in this shot there are two of them.

We immediately know (or can strongly suppose) that we are in Paris, although we are seeing a less than glamorous version of the originals. But that's actually the point. Most people in the world will have seen the Mona Lisa and the Eiffel Tower far more often in pictures than in real life, and often those pictures play with the facts quite blatantly.
In Paris you can buy postcards showing the Mona Lisa depicted in a multitude of ways, from wearing a moustache to dressed as a punk with safety pins through her nose, not forgetting her passable imitation of Queen Elizabeth II or even Miss Piggy. What on earth would Leonardo have thought?


Irony plays its part here also. For two such revered monuments to be slapped up and now peeling off in this disrespectful manner next to some grotty old tape, trying to attract your attention to a tacky gift shop is a pleasing contrast in itself.

Looking Up

This is also another great advert for 'looking up' as you wander around. There are so many gems to be spotted just above (and just below) eye level, I wouldn't know where to begin describing them to you.

Particularly in cities where lots of people are living in close proximity to one another, and space is at a premium, the human race has a tendency to get creative and do strange things with the little living area they have. Walls are decorated on the fly and weird objects are hung willy nilly from balconies and window frames.

Paris is particularly rich in 'official' graffiti which is often very impressive, as well as a great deal of unofficial stuff which has sometimes resulted in the artists becoming well known and even acknowledged, if not recognised, by the establishment, such as Miss.Tic, which must hurt them a bit.

Photo Ideas
  • Look for any representations of famous buildings or people or art in a new or unusual setting. Try to get them to interact with their environment somehow. A poster peeling off a wall is a good example.
  • Be aware of little contrasts between things you see and how they might want to be seen. A well-off person avoiding a down-and-out, for example.
  • A challenge: go out shooting and only take pictures of things above eye level. You'll be surprised by the results.
Then comment on this lesson in the Photo Blog with a link to your best result - we all want to see them!

  • symbols & icons - include them in your pictures to give them a sense of place without having to say anything - people will have something to recognise and identify with and say 'Oh, I bet that's in Paris...' (or wherever)
  • irony - it's everywhere, and once-glossy now-tattered posters of yesterday's happenings are as great source
  • looking up - in Paris I'd almost say there are more interesting things above eye-level than at it. Strangely, we are conditioned, or perhaps programmed, to walk around looking straight ahead. This is fine I suppose if we are concerned about imminent attack from head on, or just not getting run over by a tram. But although we turn our heads from side to side continuously, looking up doesn't have much use in every day life. In city photographic life, it's vital.


~ Comment on this lesson in the Photo Blog ~





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