Paris – Portrait of a City

By Fabiolla Loureiro –

Paris, the city of love and photography. I remember that when I first started to photograph cities, Paris undoubtedly would become my number one, followed by Budapest and Venice.

Being one of the most visited cities in the world, and with an immense cultural background, photography was somehow born in Paris through Daguerre (1787–1851) and since then, Paris has become one of the most photographed cities in the world. Here I present you a little bit of the magic of this incredible city, through my black and white images, that may take you to an old and noir Paris, or a current one.

The magic that bounds this city and the photography is one of the things that makes me come back every year to capture with my lens something new and different. Every time is a new challenge for me, the diversity that Paris offers is an ocean with a deepness, that is hard to measure.

Time travel to the 20’s

If you ask me what is it that fascinates so many people about this incredible city, well, it’s not an easy question. I think it’s a very unique experience to each one. But for me, the 20’s and 30’s atmosphere that still surrounds it is my main obsession with Paris. If you pay close attention, you will notice it everywhere. Woody Allen couldn’t illustrate it more brilliantly in his movie ‘Midnight in Paris’, where his protagonist Gil finds himself going back (in a very mysterious way) to the 20’s every day at midnight.

Just think about it. The boom were the times were being shaped culturally in all areas: post WWI, music, painting, literature, photography, cinema, engineering, fashion, political, architecture and, of course, pre WWII. I may say, what wouldn’t I give to have one day back in this era? How would have been to be in a cafe listening to Cole Porter, seating with Ernest Hemingway and sip a fine scotch? Listen to him talking about his adventures? His dreams and failures?

City of artists and dreamers

And I couldn’t leave out of this article my biggest influence in my photography work, the Hungarian Brassaï, born Gyula Halasz in 1899 in the Transylvanian city of Brasso, at that time Austria-Hungary, now Romania. Brassaï was so attracted to Parisian life (as myself) that he said he had no interest in confining himself “to the four walls of an atelier all alone.” And what I love about his work, and what inspires me so much, is exactly the fascination he had for Paris turning it into remarkable photography.

Paris is not a city that belongs to people in a hurry. It’s a city of dreamers.

I mean, from all the people I’ve known in my life, I met only two that were indifferent to this amazing city. How come? I’m still trying to figure it out, since I always travel and Paris is unique, and I know we have so many great cities out there, but my point is: how to be indifferent to such a marvelous and hypnotic place? A city that was already depicted by millions and some of the best photographers that existed, artists, writers, etc. And if you like photography and Paris, you will understand what I’m saying here. This is not a city that belongs to people in a hurry. It’s a city of dreamers, a city developed and shaped for those who love to live and have fun. A city where people always want more. You’ll see things and experiment irreplaceable moments that could not be lived in any other place, but maybe in another era?

A Feast that will never end

Besides Brassaï, I would like to mention here other photographers that also inspire me and that have a great material about Paris: Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Doisneau, Ernst Haas, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Roger Parry, André Zucca, Anon., Denise Bellon, Séeberger, Saul Leiter and Jacques-Henri Lartigue.

Well, for me, this is my Paris, the Paris I search every time I step my feet on this alluring city. A Paris surrounded by culture, profound, provocative, cerebral, sensual, hypnotic. A city that still today holds its international renown as a center for artists, musicians, writers. So, one of my main goals whenever I photograph Paris, it’s to give you a window through my eyes, so you can see this city as I see, passionate, unique, ethereal as a feast that will never end.

About Fabiolla Loureiro

Based in São Paulo in Brasil, Fabiolla Loureiro has been working as a photographer since 2010. In the beginning she mainly explored fashion and nude, but in the last few years she became obsessed with travel (over 30 countries), and found herself involved with this freedom and opportunity that this kind of photography allows.

With minimum use of Photoshop, we realize in her street photography the practice of natural light, rain, silhouettes, high contrasts and cold nights. The preference with black and white comes from her inspiration, such as Brassaï, Robert Capa, Robert Doisneau, Saul Leiter, Elliott Erwitt, Sabine Weiss, Willy Ronis.

Urban chaos and the period between wars are also a constant source of study and reference. In addition, Fabiolla is one of the permanent artists of Andreus Gallery in São Paulo and since 2017 participates in an architecture/design project with Casa Portoro. In this project, she has more than 40 photos in exhibition, different measures, that are part of a few ambiances in the house in collaboration with some of the biggest names of architecture in Brazil.

In the last 2 years she had exhibitions happening in London, Bologna, Madrid and Paris, and now in March again in Italy. Her first 3 individual exhibitions took place in 2016 in São Paulo. In January 2018, she was selected as one of the members of Contemporary Art Curator, an online contemporary art magazine, that covers visual arts, events and connects artists from all over the world, and also part of Art Productions New York, a network of representation for artists with prestigious standards and vision.

Last year she returned to write about her travel experiences for us and launched her own blog sharing her influences and point of view on photography. In all those years, Fabiolla studied only 3 months at Focus Photography in São Paulo, being an autodidact artist. Now in January 2019, she received the Excellence Award from the Circle Foundation for the Arts Foundation in Lyon.

Fabiolla has also contributed with another article filled with her beautiful pictures: Budapest at a glance

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