Today was the last day of the “Charles Marville: Photographer of Paris” exhibit at the National Gallery of Art, so I went with friends Mollie, Greg and Rachel. (NGA’s description: “This exhibition, which marks the bicentennial of Marville’s birth, explores the full trajectory of the artist’s photographic career and brings to light the extraordinary beauty and historical significance of his art.”)
All of Marville’s works were beautiful — he had a way of capturing exquisite details and posing people in manners that brought the images to life — but I had a few favorites.
First was a pair of photographs of a street corner in Paris, “Rue Laffitte” and “Rue Ollivier.” They were of the same cross streets from two different angles. They were different, but featured some of the same elements. I thought that was true to life — you and someone else can be looking at the same thing, but not see the same thing.
The second was “The Rue Soufflot and the Pantheon,” just a simple photograph of this street. It appears to be empty, but the description notes that this is misleading; it was actually a bustling avenue of activity, but because of how fast everything was moving, they didn’t register on the negative. If you look closely at the photograph, there are some blurs that are supposedly carriages. It’s a literal case of a scene being more than meets the eye.
Anyway. The point of all this is that it’s all about perspective.
P.S. The other main conclusion I have come to today is that I really want a beret.