Friday, July 02, 2010

La Boh(ê)ème ?!

The first thing I thought of when I shot this scene was La Bohêème opera by Puccini. It takes place in Paris, among very poor people, some who "enjoy" the situation because they're artists, some who don't because they are just workers (or rather "cousettes"). In this present case, my guess is that this is more the second situation... Despite our welfare system,  about 200 000 people are considered to live with less than 670 € per month in Paris, which is really not much. Sorry for such a sad note, but Paris is not all about glamor...


  1. @Eric : "The first thing I thought of when I shot this scene was La Bohême opera by Puccini". And me, I thought of the song "La bohême" by Charles Aznavour.
    Et ça veut dire beaucoup ;)

  2. Glamorous, no, but still so very Parisian. I love it.

  3. La Bohême by Puccini in a flash. Les grands esprits se rencontrent.

  4. Quite an enlightening shot, Eric. There is a dignified modesty about the scene. I thank you for the awareness, and I wish the people who live there a better future.

  5. This is a great photo relief -- especially for starving artists type. As they say, misery loves company and Eric, you just gave me a lot of company. San Francisco is not all about glamor too -- especially during this global economy crisis. Merci for all your efforts in these trying times. Bisous Bisous

  6. I don't know anything or anyone who is all glamorous. The evening ball is followed by the champagne hangover and red eyes. The people who clean up after the aristocrats certainly don't feel glamorous. And I can tell you there is a serious dearth of glamour in my life!

    We keep pushing.

    Great photo.

  7. You have made an artful and respectful composition of this. We cannot all be granted prosperity, but we can all be granted dignity.

  8. or should that be glamour? You have turned into quite the American!

  9. Belle photo; cela aurait pu etre mon appartment a y a tres longtemps. (Desolee; je ne peux pas moi-meme taper des accents ici, mais juste pour vous dire que 'boheme' dans le sens que vous utlisez le termme s'ecrit avec un accent circonflexe---voir ceci que j'ai coupe et colle de Wiki:

    "Première surprise, l’usage commun du terme n’attend pas l’apogée du romantisme. Il remonte au Moyen Age ! Un "bohème" (on dira plus tard "bohémien") désigne alors un vagabond, selon l’idée répandue à l’époque que la Bohême (avec un accent circonflexe) - région qui compose aujourd’hui la République tchèque avec la Moravie et une partie de la Silésie - était un réservoir à nomade..."

  10. Coucou Bibi. Your comment is meeting my French language sensility ;)
    Here is what I found in a on-line dictionary :

    > bohème
    (adjectif et nom commun)
    Qui vit en dehors des règles bourgeoises, sans prévoir l'avenir.
    La bohème: l'ensemble des gens qui mènent une vie de bohème.
    Cette vie.
    > bohême

    So, I think that the word here in Eric's title should not be written with a circumflex but with a grave (bohème).
    Which is also true concerning my first comment above. Charles Aznavour song is 'la bohème'.
    I've again learnt something today. I think this is going to be a good day for me ;) and a very warm day in Paris too!

  11. It's the same, if not worse, here in Rome.

    The image is very Bohême...

    Roma Every Day

  12. Eric:

    Great seeing! Wonderful composition and array of textures. Not to mention the story each one of us can imagine with the presentation the clothes hanging out to dry. I live on the top floor of a three flat and occasionally hang clothes out to dry in the restorative sunlight.
    Again, just a wonderful image!

    Stef in sunny cool Chicago

  13. Life is all about the differences between us. This person looks like they work hard to take care of things and make sure that they're living the best life that they can, in spite of, or possibly because of their circumstances. Do you think they're from a small town and live in a top floor apartment just happy to be in Paris? Or perhaps they have lived there most of their many possibilities.

  14. I agree, you have a beutifully composed photograph here Eric and despite the poor living conditions, the color etc. make it a very diginified in a way. Sadly there are millions living in poverty all around our world.

  15. I love this photo - but simply as another aspect of Parisian life.

    Let's see what we've got.
    - An apartment or room in Paris,one of the most expensive cities in the world.
    - Some mens clothing hanging out to dry. Where else to hang them?
    - A nice pair of stepladders needed for some purpose or other. (escape the landlord?)
    -Lines for TV arials/internet?
    It reminds me a bit of a crap Paris hotel room (ex internet/ladders) I stayed in once. I survived.
    Yes, it's run down but take away the washing, tart it up, put some flowers out and it wouldn't look that bad, maybe sell it as a bijou studio apartment when gentrification eventually arrives in the area.
    Or it could be used as the location for a downmarket Parisian remake of Barefoot in the Park.

    -So there are some poor people in Paris - how inconvenient, what with them hanging out their dirty linen in public and making the place look untidy.
    There are millions of people for whom a place of their own in a civilised country with 670 euros a month would be beyond their wildest dreams. Chinese workers who make i-Phones for example.

    We know not of this place, who lives here and their circumstances let alone their poverty, real or imagined.

  16. I also thought "dignified" and "honest" when I saw this. And you've composed the shot beautifully, I agree. Somehow the seamy side of New York is not so picturesque.

  17. Yes Drummond, I too read about these Chinese workers for Apple and their poor conditions, which could lead some of them to a fatal issue.
    Don't know why I think of that after saying this, but to me it also could be happy people, living behind this window, even in a small room.
    When I was living in my first small studio, I was so happy being on my own that I was not aware of the small space (well I was, but I like thinking I was not!). Also because it was in Paris. And maybe also because I was not living under the roofs where it must have been unbreathable today with the boiling weather we had.
    I think it is better now. But as I'm still at work in A/C offices, I don't really know. I should not complain because of the A/C offices but I should for the time still here...
    This is the week end and I so wish I could enjoy it as much as possible...

  18. I really enjoyed a lot of your comments today (including the ones that point out the fact that I should not have written bohême with a circonflexe accent, but with a grave accent! Like this ! Bohème.

  19. I think it looks beautiful! Not glamorous but I would be quite happy there.

  20. My own home town Tilburg is a city of factory workers in the Textile, at least in the earlier days. Nothing wrong with that. The contrast in Paris is exceptional. Good of you to catch this pic.
    Cheers, Peter

  21. J'espère qu'ils ont rentré le linge maintenant car un gros orage éclate sur Paris. Dans un sens, je regarde cette pluie avec plaisir comme dans les pays tropicaux quand la pluie est un vrai cadeau du ciel... La chaleur dans les appartements reste, la lumière est sombre, l'eau tombe à flots, le tonnerre gronde et quelques éclairs jaillissent. Beau spectacle. J'espère juste qu'Eric n'est pas sur son scooter.

  22. @FL. Non! Mais je suis VRAIMENT content qu'il ait plu !

  23. Thank you for this photo and for reminding me that there are those who struggle everywhere, especially in these trying times. My idealistic side wants to believe that there are some places in the world which are always glamorous, like Paris, for example, but of course this is not so. Unfortunately, life has been very unglamorous for many of us these days . I don't mean to be a downer, but it's the truth. But your blog is always a ray of light, thanks again.

  24. J'aime vraiment cette photo. Il est très créatif. Pour la connexion de cette photo avec la scène de La Bohêème opéra de Puccini était très bon. Paris a pauvres villes comme chaque ville. Paris a plus à offrir que Coco Chanel, Christine Dior, YSL et Karl Lagerfeld. Je sais, je ne peux pas croire que soit. Cette photo montre les couleurs de Paris. Cette photo montre la diversité de Paris. Cette photo montre le vrai <> de Paris. Et 670 euros? C'est 841.86 dollars par mois. Mes parents ne peuvent pas payer leurs billets avec 841.86 dollars par mois.

  25. Thank you for sharing all of Paris with us!

    Deb Weaver
    USA, SC

  26. excellent picture and thoughtful comment.... you're so right!

    i often capture this hidden 'charm' which is, of course, rather a sign of poverty, even misery - but I know for a fact that living IN Paris (not like me, poor 'relative', some 30km outside of the heart of Paris) simply cannot be measured with comparisons to other places.

    I couldn't (wouldn't be able to) live within the inner boundaries of Paris, but I LOVE visiting, finding hidden corners, small parks, delightful mini gardens, stand open mouthed and open minded in front of imposing architectural statements, towering over a house from 'l'époque'....

    You did well here, Eric! Merci.

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