I’ve been working in the main business district of Paris, La Défense, for more than a decade. Nevertheless, it took me coming back to film a few years ago to start exploring the neighbourhood. The area is home to some iconic buildings and one group is especially original in its architecture and the mosaics that cover the outside walls: the “tours Nuage” or “tours Aillaud” (the cloud towers, architect E.Aillaud).
Time has not been very kind to these residential buildings, and the mosaics are often in need of restoration, but they are a piece of architectural history, a reminder of the great changes happening in Nanterre some 40-50 years ago.
One day in December last year, I could see some blue sky while on my lunch break. I quickly grabbed a sandwich and decided to head over for a short photo walk. My Canon 7 rangefinder was the camera of the moment, paired with the Canon LTM 50mm f/1.4 lens I got with it. It was loaded with the 400 ISO film I use the most: a roll of bulk-loaded ILFORD HP5 PLUS. This is my 2nd rangefinder camera (the 1st being a Canonet). It’s not the camera I use the most, but one I enjoy taking with me when walking the streets of Paris. Its light meter is not the most practical one to use but is accurate enough to help when in doubt.
Even though I could faintly hear children from a nearby kindergarten, I was quite alone while walking around. The place was quiet, peaceful, and the only person I saw was one of the caretakers who offered me to join him for lunch. I regret not having been able to take him on his offer, but it was already time to get back to the office. Nevermind, there will be other times.
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This series is produced in conjunction with Hamish Gill's excellent 35mmc.com. Head on over to read the other half of these stories there.
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