Friday, October 12, 2007

Monkey Business

You may remember this photo that many of you enjoyed. I took it on the occasion of an antique dealer festival that they organize every year in October in my neighborhood (Drouot). Well, they did it again this year but because of a little leak problem in my apartment (see yesterday's comments) I did not have much time to wander around. Still, I came out with this funky monkey pic (God knows why an art dealer sells monkeys?!) that looks like it belongs more to the jungle than to the 9th arrondissement! BTW, if you're a PDP fan have a look at this video, tell me what you think...


  1. Sorry to hear about the "little leak problem" in your apartment, Eric. I hope it was architectural and not personal...Hey, I'm kidding, I'm kidding!!

    Also, today’s picture is very apt, as the custodian of ‘Voltaire's Monkey’ has woken up FEELING exactly as your desiccated monkey LOOKS!

    Your video is excellent. The only suggestions I would make (and remember, these are coming from a someone whose involvement with the cinema is both professional and highly idiosyncratic), is that, while it is very energetic and shows the many faces of Paris you have photographed so well, it doesn't have the same diversity or subtlety of tone at the level of the soundtrack and editing that your world famous blog does at the level of image sequencing, titling and notes. In other words, it might be even BETTER if it had more of a "shape". This, as you know, is very much a matter of pacing and effect: some rhythms and tonalities being more evocative in relation to certain images than others. You have shown us that "variety is the spice of life" in France as much as it is anywhere else, and I would now like to see a version of your promo that delivers the same idea in the form of an animated slide show. One piece of music might be efficient, and a great way of fusing such a wide variety of shots, but several would definitely infuse your piece with a little more "light and shade" - a little more theatricality, a little more of what makes up the emotional journey one takes when traversing such a richly endowed city as Paris. You might even consider inserting short excerpts from your favourite comments…

    Does all that make sense?

    I hope so.

    Finally, I think the idea of making such clip is great and that, once it is finished and integrated into PHP, it will only complement you other great work and efforts.

    Well done!

  2. Eric,

    Love the concept. Personally, I am not sure if the music really goes. I may have gone with something somewhat more "French" - just a thought. As well, I know & love your photos very well but some of these shots seem very blurry which may be do to the speed of the video! Good idea though and I would love to see more of it!

  3. -the shaky effect gets tiring for the eye

    -Can't you find any French music to go with PDP ? I am quite sure this is what foreign PDP visitors expect, rather than the regular pop.

  4. I thought the effects of the the choice of many of the pictures were good.

    My suggestion is to change the music. For one, I didn't feel it fit the photos or Paris and two, it gave me the image of a gay disco. Which is fine if that's what you're going for...

  5. Oh, Eric! I LOVED it! C'est magnifique! Bravo, bravo, et bravo! I love the musique - it's tres hip!

    P.S. Monkey is cute, too ;)

  6. Eric, I think I agree with Alain. My eyes had trouble focussing all the time and while the music is excellent - it is sung in English and perhaps a French tune would be better - it can still be 'dance music' though. I'm not gay and I'm over 50 and I liked it.
    Otherwise, it is fantastic. Who will be the audience besides us - will you put a permanent link on your blog?

  7. Eric - I love your photos because they show me a Paris I have never seen. I didn't get that same feeling with the video. Maybe it was the music. Maybe it was the pacing. Maybe a morphing effect would let the viewer see what you see. Or a more varied pace.

    BTW I sent the link for Learn French in 5 minutes and 36 seconds to a friend at work, who sent it to a friend in Paris - so it made a loop in less than 12 hours. Fabulous.

  8. I agree with Louis London; particularly changing the pace of the photos and music to create "energetic" moments contrasting with "contemplative" moments.
    Good job on the initial effort!

    I really love visiting your site, and your photos!

  9. Eric:

    As you know from the previous posts, all of us enjoy your images.

    This video effectively destroys them. It disrespects them. For a loooong time.

    For those of us who are intimately familiar with each and every image shown in the video, it was torture to watch. What is so delightful about your images is the opportunity to enlarge them and examine them in detail. We learn even more than why you originally drawn to make the photo. Even more fun is to read the comments. Sometimes posters can wax on for many paragraphs, inspired by just a one of your images.

    This video just gives us a headache visually while sending us to audio hell.

    The music is horrid! I don't know what anyone means by French music, but that crap ain't it. I personally love gypsy jazz. Give me Angelo Debarre. Now that is what I think of when I think of Paris. But that is 1930 to 50's Paris. I am hip to current music in Paris, so, is that French music? Today's pop French music seems be be too influenced by American pop music, most of which I don't like. It all comes down to one's personal taste, and age also.

    Nevertheless, I am glad you tried out the video. Nothing ventured, nothing learned.

    Thank for letting me rant on.

    Steve in chilly Chicago

  10. I'm really enjoying the comments this time around. Poor Eric. Well, he asked didn't he? At least people care enough to comment that's what's so great about this community.

    Oh yeah, there's a photo of a monkey too. How ironic.

    Looks like PDP video version 2.0 will be coming to our screens soon.

  11. I hope your apartment is dryer now!!!

    Eric, I love the video. That is a lot of work and I would not know how to begin such a project. My two cents though, since you ask:
    • On the size: I have no idea how to do it but I think the window should be smaller when it opens. This way the picture resolution would remain optimal. I am thinking of the video podcasts you can download from iTunes: sometimes it opens in a large window and sometimes in a smaller size one (to be viewed on an iPod). I think that's what you need.
    The music is upbeat and goes well with the rythm you chose to display the pictures. However (sorry), I am not fond of it. I know it sounds cliché, but I would definitely pick something a little more Frenchy. I would not go as far as Edith Piaf and the sempiternel accordion but I am sure there must be something fun, upbeat, Parisian somewhere! If I get any idea I'll shoot you mail.
    Ah, just thought about Dutronc's "Paris s'éveille"! It is very trépidant and could fit what you are going for.
    The transitions - not crazy about them but I would be so proud if I could come up with half this myself. I think it gives it a little homemade feel that can be endearing. Of course, if you know someone hip&cool in advertising, they could come up with something drop dead gorgeous. Maybe someone here will volunteer to help you!
    • I am following your blog for a few months only so I have discovered a lot here. :) The mix of pictures was perfect! Great diversity.

    Great job, dear.

  12. Eric, that video is SUPER! I love it, really nice. C'est très bien!

  13. Cool. I hope you take the criticism to heart, it shows the passion that your blog readers have. From a picky perspective, I do agree with previous comments re: changing the pacing to highlight the mood of the photos, and optimizing photo resolution. But extremely creative!

  14. Mon Dieu Eric!! There I was envisioning the horror of dealing with the leak in your apartment and how your neighbors must have been really peed off at you...and trying to pack in the middle of the chaos..the water..the mess! Then I clicked onto the video link and thought I had reached the homepage for le Raidd Bar!! Tres interessant!! Bon Voyage!!!

  15. Perfect Eric if I could only just reduce the screen for the resolution. Love the music, love the concept, and of course, love the photos.

  16. Great concept and execution! If you could reduce the screen it would be perfect!

  17. I liked the concept of seeing the photos that way and thought the music reflected what the Daily Photo phenom is about: reaching a higher understanding of cultures and diversity and helping to mitigate some of the misconceptions that can lead to hate, intolerance and war.
    Not least you have provided a safe haven for Francophiles such as myself to express our appreciation for France and Paris in particular and to further our knowledge of a country we are enamored with. And for that I send you my love, respect and best wishes.

  18. Well, I'm so glad I don't know anything about cinematography, because I was able to just watch and enjoy. The music gave me a little shot of energy to start my day. I can't wait for the next one.

    Now I'm off to find that Eiffel Tower photo with the Avenue New York sign in the forefront.

  19. The grittiness of this video appeals to me.

    It is a reminder that Paris is more than just a beautiful tourist destination to see and be seen, but a teeming, thriving metropolis where oftentimes the most beautiful people and sights are those which tend to be overlooked. This is the Paris I have come to know and love, the one that challenges my senses and perceptions, enhances my growth and at times tests my patience. The Paris that not only makes me feel alive, but grateful to be.

  20. Cool monkey! I thought I was shaving in the mirror again!

    Clearly, you've put much effort and time into the video, as you have for PDP. We all appreciate this, as we obviously appreciate PDP. I'm not big on the rapidly changing images that is the norm these days. It ruins Cirque de Soleil performances on television, because Cirque's effect is from slowly building intensity. Like good love making. I don't know about the "gay disco" comment, having never been in one, and musical tastes vary. But, for me anyway, the enjoyment of PDP is to gaze at the photo, try to locate the site in my memory, examine the surroundings, feel the air, smell the croissant and cafe, hear the chatter, smile, and write a comment.

    But, like everything ever produced, it depends on your intended audience! Frank Zappa composed classical music and what he called 'comedy rock and roll'. Frank said if you like it, it's good. You should listen to--and watch--what you like. N'est-ce pas?

    Keep on truckin', mon ami.

  21. Et, bein sur, beudeu geu deu, pfft.

  22. Jeff said "beudeu geu deu, pfft" LOL

    Eric I have 2 things to say to you:

    1. I AM a PDP fan so it's so hard for me to see anything negative about it... which means I LOVED THE VIDEO!!! I love how dynamic it is and how the changing of the images makes us want more. And I loved reviewing all those photos again! Yes, maybe you can change the music, but I think the rythm fits the video.
    What is this video for? (besides our amusement of course!)

    2. About your comment in the previous post, I was just about to say "oh I'm so sorry to hear about the leak problem I hope it gets fixed soon..." when I read the part where you say you're packing for another vacation!!!!! All of a sudden I wasn't feeling sorry for you anymore!
    Now you're pushing it! Another holiday???!!! I'm sure we're all green with envy!

  23. Michael, I thought you'd like to know that there is something about the City Daily Photo Blog at wikipedia.
    At least in portuguese there is!

  24. I liked touring through your blog. It is probably as close as I will ever get to anywhere in France. It was a delight. connie from Texas

  25. Tonton, I looked up le Raidd Bar, a gay bar! So you agree with me.

    I've been in a few gay places...and this music is definitely representative! Not my kind of music at all though!

  26. It's - almost - interesting to hear everyone's comments, but in the end I simply scanned through them.
    Your video shows us in both sound and images, the enthusiasm you have for both Paris and PDP.
    This video is about your dedication and your passion, and the way you see both Paris and those that follow your life through the eyes of Paris. Or perhaps, Paris through your eyes. This is not negotiable.
    There is nothing more easy than to criticize a work of someone else.
    There is nothing more challenging than to be original and to create a small masterpiece.
    This is just beautiful, because it is your work of art. This is your message.
    You give, but you hardly ever receive.

    Ripper, Eric, I loved it, Monsieur !

  27. Dear sensitive m.benaut,

    You are too cute and sweet! But if someone asks for opinions, he or she should be prepared for it.

  28. Tu sais, si tu nous mettais du rechauffé une fois de temps en temps (quant il fait froid, quand il pleut, quand t'as envie de dormir, quant t'as la flemme, etc.), j'ai l'impression personne n'en aurait la moindre idée, tu sais ;)) J'espere que la fuite dans l'appart va mieux.

    Quant à la vidéo, excellente idee mais elle est sort assez mal cadrée sur mon ordi, toute petite et en haut de l'ecran, et pas moyen de la bouger ou de la regler ??? Encore un mystere de l'ordi... Still, it was a great surprise, well done! :)

    Thanks and enjoy your vacation!

  29. Oh, I see, we're supposed to comment or criticize on the video!? OK, then here is my 2 cents, why not.

    I disagree with the negative feedback about the music. Of course people who come to this blog want to hear French but that's not necessarily what people in France listen to all day long.

    The reality is that over there, "anglo" music has a HUGE share of market and *great deal* of influence on *all* music produced in France, and it's been that way for as long as I can remember.

    Many of the French singers go to studios in london, Los Angeles, and elsewhere to produce their albums. Many sing predominantly in English. Many use US musicians, producers, etc.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that the music you hear is far more representative of what you might hear in Paris than anything else with accordeon or French lyrics (Yes, you can still hear accordeon in France; some of the new generation like Thomas Fersen, etc., still use it)

    And I think Paris s'éveille - although a great song at the time and for many years - is so dated by now that it would not go with the pictures of this blog because the great majority of pictures on blog are modern, contemporary, and illustrate current events and Paris s'éveille is what, 40 years old already and reminds you mostly of a Paris that is no longer (in my opinion).

    I think in this case, Anglo is a good choice, because it's more neutral and lets the pictures play a bigger role in the viewer's mind.

    But I guess, if you absolutely have to go with a French song, then go with a more contemporary version of Paris s'éveille like the incredible piece "Je ne connaissais pas Paris le matin" by Grand Corps Malade (Slam)

    or something equally modern, showing a more current picture of Paris than the tunes everybody and their parents have heard all their life already.

    If anything bothered me in the video (other than my own computer's settings preventing me from viewing it properly) it would be that these pictures are .. well, pictures, and as such have no movement built in. You can put them up for 5 seconds each, morph them, or do anything you want with them, but they are still gonna be pictures.

    I think if you want to do get a video to look as rich and clever as your blog is, Eric, you may have to use real video clips and mix them with your pictures, not put just pictures.

    My apologies for the long comment, everybody.

  30. By the way, gay disco?!!! Are you guys for real?!!!

  31. "By the way, gay disco?!!! Are you guys for real?!!!"

    My sentiments exactly!

  32. Saying I thought it was the link to "le Raidd" was supposed to be a joke!! Une blague!!! Actually the music at "le Raidd" is great...LOL!!! And I like the music on the "PDP Video" it will probably come to be known! ;-)

  33. Loved the video and the music. Hope you do another one just as good. Hope you do not listen to the comments to music, picture resolution, size, etc. It was perfect just the way you made it. I would not change a thing. Looking forward to the next PDP and PDP video.


  34. I really like the monkey, but I'm ashamed to admit all I can think of looking at this is Peter Sellers...

    Je suis désolé