A Look Back On the French Capital Nearly 100 Years Ago Through The Lens Of Photographer Jean Pierre Yves-Petit
Photographs of the City of Light taken by a master photographer in the early part of the twentieth century. The photographer Pierre Yves-Petit, who called himself “Yvon,” wandered the streets of Paris between the world wars looking for the moment when the shifting light and clouds would perfectly reveal the city’s ephemeral, iconic beauty. The dramatic images of the city and its people that he made during those years would become the most popular postcards in France. They can still be bought today on Parisian quais and are eagerly sought by collectors.
With an eye for startling viewpoints and unusual weather conditions, Yvon photographed the city awakening at dawn, in the shimmering afterglow of rain, or seen over the shoulder of a gargoyle high atop a cathedral. Yvon’s Paris reproduces more than one hundred of his loveliest images, many made from recently discovered glass negatives. This elegant and poetic collection captures the magic of Paris at its most photogenic—the way many of us romantically wish it still were.
Born in Bordeaux, the French photographer Jean Pierre Yves Petit (1886–1969) moved to Paris as a young man; there he parlayed a childhood passion for photography into a job at the august culture magazine L’Illustration, adopting the pen name Yvon to avoid confusion with a popular portrait photographer named Pierre Petit.
Yvon also drew inspiration from Paris’s moody weather. By exploiting the romantic potential of Paris’s clouds, mist and fog, in their ceaseless interplay with the sun, he created images that “stand well apart from views made by so many other photographers, who usually preferred sunny weather.”
Yvon established his studio in Paris in the 1920s and between the wars, he took thousands of photographs of the city. And here is a gorgeous collection of his work from the set “Yvon’s Paris” that he shot in the 1920s.