Sunday, April 6, 2014

Colorful Paris


One of the joys of writing historical mysteries is the chance to visit the sites of your story.  A contemporary novel set in NY, or a snug cozy near the Llama ranch in Sisters, Oregon can both afford interesting opportunities. But you’re less likely to see the gleam of delighted envy in your friends eyes when they say, “Of course, you had to do research, poor thing.”  You can smile coyly and answer, “Yes.  Such a pity.  So time consuming.  And I’ll just have to go back—there’s still so much to photograph…”




Above is one of the famous original Metro entrances in Paris.  This one, Abysses, is in Montmartre.  I've taken the photograph and played with the image in Paintshop Pro to give it a more Impressionistic quality.  This is an entertaining game to play with your travel photos. Because, of course, you’ll wander about with camera in hand, tucking images and memories away inside your black box...or pink phone.  Sometimes your own images don't work out, of course, but there is always Wikimedia Commons.  The original of this played up piccie of La Moulin de la Gallette, near my American artist's lodgings in Montmartre, is by Harald Lordick.  Far more Fauvre than Impressionist in this version





When you hope to capture a bygone era, you’ll discover how frustrating it is that most tourist sites are besieged by actual tourists trying to photograph the exact same angle you want to capture.  Even though it’s Paris, they won’t be wearing Dior, much less Charles Worth—those shorts and tee shirts will be especially annoying if you want your photo to capture the feel of a different era.  You probably won’t be as lucky as I was and stumble on a movie crew filming in period costume, like these characters gathered by a solitary bouquiniste.  Most bouquinistes were on the Left Bank. This film was being shot on the Ile. St. Louis, my favorite place in Paris, a tiny island one bridge over from the Île de la Cité, home to the glories of Notre Dame and La Sainte Chappelle, and to the Palais de Justice, which housed the detectives quarters during my era.



  
Most bouquinistes were on the Left Bank. This film was being shot on the Île St. Louis, my favorite place in Paris, and the home of my hero, Inspecteur Michel Devaux.  At night, Michel often walked down to the quai to watch the sunset on the Seine.



 
 
The tiny island of the Île St. Louis is one bridge over from the Île de la Cité, home to the glories of Notre Dame and La Sainte Chappelle, and to the Palais de Justice, which housed the detectives quarters during my era.The police detective’s bureau is here in the medieval fortress of the Conciergerie which is part of the Palais de Justice, a short walk from Notre Dame.  The police have moved, but much of the building is a museum—Marie Antoinette spent her last days imprisoned here.
 
 

 
 
Sometimes I get lucky and the light is right, the detail is clear, and the photo isn’t lopsided.  I’ve played with all these pictures a little or a lot.  Most just have a smidgen of pencil texturing from the Art Media Effects tab, others combine multiple techniques to become more like drawings or paintings.  I’ve had the most luck with Colored Pencil or sometimes with Chalk Effects.  The photo then needs to be intensified with more contrast, color saturation, perhaps sharpness.  But you can try Artistic Effects like Colored Foil, Enamel, or Neon Glow to see what new image emerges.  Glowing Edges was an effect that created this Vampiric view of the Seine from the Île St. Louis.
 
 




The most deliciously delightful part of a Paris trip is eating in restaurants that have kept all or portions of the exterior and interior of the era, such as La Fermette Marbeuf.  For decades this beautiful décor was banished as old fashioned and hidden under plaster.  Another restoration uncovered what had long since been forgotten.  In surroundings like these, it’s easy to project yourself into another era.  I only wish that wishing could project me there now.
 


2 comments:

E.L. F. said...

Beautiful! Someday...I'd like to see these scenes with my own eyes, sigh. Thanks for sharing.

Claude Nougat said...

Lovely pictures, I really enjoyed it, thanks for posting!