#1133. More London Photography. Fluid Architecture?

By pascaljappy | Opinion

Aug 18

I’ve been photographing London for as long as I’ve had access to a camera. It’s always fascinated me for its shape-shifting architectural abilities. Are those threatening its appeal, now, though?

Tate not so modern and friends

To me, the spectrum of “architectural” travel photography covers at least three stages, each equally interesting but attracting different types of creators and spectators :

  1. Going to interesting places and making somewhat literal photographs, so as to convey to others a sense of being there.
  2. Grabbing interesting detail, processing the photographs in a way that conveys a sense of what the place feels like.
  3. Going off script, creating very personal photographs from almost nothing, to convey how the place makes you feel.

Pascal Ollier tends to gratify us with marvelous posts following the first principle. His use of extreme angles and personal framing choices skilfully avoids what could be a boring education course. Dallas works in series that are both consistent in theme and aesthetics to produce a similarly enjoyable depiction of somewhere that goes beyond the mere documentary while still informing us about the location in a way that’s really grounded. Adrian achieves stunning results through portraits in the streets of Asian cities, in an intimate, nocturnal, style.

The Southbank Thames Walk. Fave place on Earth for pic making ?

Philber, Nancee Rostad and Paul Perton, with aesthetics and approaches that couldn’t be more different, each fall in the third category, to my eyes. Each creates a very personal universe from subject matter that’s readily available to all.

I feel like my photographs fall in the middle, along with the work of such luminaries as Lad, John, Sean, Jean Claude, PaulB and others (please excuse me if I didn’t list your name here, my classification system is still fresh in my mind and I’m not able to place everyone very accurately. It doesn’t reflect on my enjoyment of your work πŸ™‚ )

We see someting. That inspires a thought that directs our photographs along a very specific direction, while keeping it realistic.


At least, that’s me trying to propose a photo-related theory of everything, an undertaking that has never been met with much success in the past πŸ˜‰ I have no doubt many GΓΆdels will prove this trichotomy to be very incomplete. Heck, let me undermine my own shaky theory with the above photograph, which steers uncomfortably far from the “realistict” side of photography and towards the abstract and very personal. And those at the bottom of my post are distinctly close to category 1. But bear with me πŸ˜‰

My point is only to provide some sort of mental frame of reference to explain my attraction to London, having visited and photographed it well over 100 times.

To put it pragmatically, London always bring something new, something that triggers that desire to shoot in series, like photographic pheromones floating in the air. Change, in a word, is what appeals to me so much.


Change is wonderful stimulation for someone curious about his immediate environment, yet too lazy to actively seek out new subjects when none pop out to grab you by the lens.

And change acts as a creative twofer. Not only does it provide fresh meat to stimulate the twitch, it also gets me into a mood to see old things in a new way, as above in a popular tube station. Something I would probably be incapable of, without that initial jumpstart.

On a more philosophical level, change also evokes entropy and complexity to me, two topics that have fascinated for as long as I’ve been introduced to them. London is my entropy-complexity heaven. How do I get out of this self-inflicted pickle and explain what the previous sentence can possibly mean, I now ask myself πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰


Entropy is commonly associated with disorder. It should be associated with life.

Entropy sets the arrow of time in its single direction, and most systems do indeed tend towards a “greater disorder” under the effect of entropy. But entropy can also be imagined as a reservoir of creative energy. That’s not scientifically true. But “entropy reserves” are the fuel that complex systems build themselves from.

Consider our little planet, for instance. The sun sends us homogeneous rays of light. The upper atmosphere absorbs some of them and reflects others. Plants gorge on others still for their photosynthesis. The soil and water warm up, absorbing small-wavelength rays and then cool down slowly at night releasing higher-wavelength rays into the cosmos. Humans are now starting to use the sun’s energy directly through solar panels, which powers stuff that radiates electromagnetic frequencies all over the shop. It is all a lot more messy and disordered when the job’s done than when those perfectly aligned rays started their travel towards us. But, in doing so, that mess created life, created plants, created animals, created farms, created industry, created thought … created immense complexity. Disorder is just the waste byproduct.


Complexity thrives on pure energy and leaves a mess behind πŸ˜‰ Creation stops when not usable energy differences exist, when everything has become homogeneous. When the sun is no longer able to provide us with this fuel, we will no longer be able to lift ourselves to greater heights of complexity anymore. It will all be downhill, from that distant day on. Cosmologically, we have time. But do we, as passing dwellers?

London seems to be making greater use of creative entropy than all the other places I know put together. That manifests as change towards ever greater architectural variety and complexity, which has immense draw for me. The raw energy here, is obviously corporate finances. And the creative spark that converts this money into visual eye-candy is the wealth of architects who, over the past decades, have each been adding layer upon layer of new design to an existing canvas of architectural history, sometimes with absolute brilliance.

London is the city of cranes. For as long as I’ve known it, cranes have barred its skyline. The construction never stops, the transformation knows no week-ends.


Over visits spaced out by a few months, I’ve seen buildings emerge from old dock hangars, first as concrete pillars lined with metal frames, then as glass-panneled origami puzzles. My mind holds an incredible architectural timelapse that’s been a constant joy to photograph.

And nowhere is this more visually pleasing than where new meets old.

As I’ve written before, interfaces between different forces are where interesting stuff happens. Think about the wonderfully creative photographs of swirls of paint poured into water for a vivid example of the potential beauty of frontiers. Photography freezes those moments in time. And the most stunning ones often depict moments of highest complexity. But it you observe the mixing to its end, you are left with a uniformly coloured liquid with no swirls, nuances or shades. All energy is spent, the state of highest entropy has been reached – hence of lowest creative interest – and, unless someone provides the necessary energy to separate the two liquids and start over, this state will never change (well, it will probably evaporate πŸ˜‰ )


That new-meets-old layering is what has made London so appealing to me for so many years.

In places such as Ledenhall Market, Liverpool Street Station and Spitafields market, this reaches wonderful climaxes of are-you-kidding-me-ness. In other places, the streaks of genius required to make this semi-blasphemous juxtaposition work is sorely missing, leaving the spectator with the mere sadness that something ancient was destroyed to make way for some uninspired modern replacement (mind you, who’s to say the old version wasn’t an ugly lump of bricks to begin with? πŸ˜‰ )

Now, though, maybe it’s time the current architectural formula evolved or shifted to new climes?

For one thing, other cities are in desperate need of change, in my biased book of photography.

Paris, for one, clings to the past with such intensity that it’s at risk of becoming stale. There, I said it. Missile incoming. It’s true though. Paris has its glass skyscrapers. The place is called La Defense and, as illustrated by Philippe on numerous occasions, it can provide fertile ground for photographers. But remember Philippe is a category 3 photographer who maps his visual universe onto the details of wherever he happens to be, whereas I – as category 2 – require some external visual train of tough to click.

Besides, the geographical segregation between La Defense and old Paris could hardly be greater. They’re not even in the same train zone. The Tour Montparnasse provides a lonely attempt at modernism in a sea of (admittedly lovely) beige stone architecture from centuries ago. There is little visual contrast to be had in most areas.


It’s a cultural thing, and it’s not recent.

Look at this scene of sheer beauty, below, for example. Have ever seen anything more elegant anywhere? I was stunned to discover it, a few week ago, as one of the pavilions of the 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle. Those buildings (maybe not made to last ?) were destroyed after the show ended because the Invalides, a building of greater historical significance but far less beauty, situated at the back of a vast expanse of grass providing all the visual interest of a suburban front lawn, lied behind them. Call me flabbergasted.

And Paris’ choice of renovation for the burnt-down roof of Notre Dame was predictably to rebuild it exactly as it was, using the exact same techniques. However interesting intellectually, the idea is also very revealing of this city’s great reluctance to change and risk taking. I feel a little crazy powder from London, applied intelligently, could spice things up and make the city less of an open air museum. I love museums, but sure don’t want to live in one.

Paris during the Exposition Universelle of 1900 (c) ???

But, mainly, my second reason for hoping that something will buck this glass building frenzy after it has been so good to me photographically, is that it no longer leaves room for much contrast itself. In places, it feels like it is taking over, rather than coexisting with older buildings. London, in short, is at risk of becoming stuck in an immobile past as well, and a past of far less interesting heritage than Paris, at that.

While the more modern areas still leave us plenty of shapes and designs to play with, they don’t feel as rich or nurturing as the talented mix that some more central, and hybrid, parts of town exhibit.

The main culprit appears to be the obsession with glass. While glass coexists with concrete, metal, texture and colour, glass buildings still feel like a monoculture, an entropic maximum. In places such as Canary Wharf, the brilliant now coexists with the utterly depressing, as in La Defense, near Paris. Surely it’s time for an architectural red flag? Who and what will provide the energy to recharge and refresh the dominant culture?


Glass can be cool. I’ve seen it bent into amazing tunnels in aquariums (that’s not strictly speaking glass, but you get the idea). Most often, though, glass comes as flat, shiny rectangles repeated over huge surfaces. The pattern itself can be entertaining. But the end result still often feels dull, particularly when surrounded with other buildings using only a slight variation on the exact same formula.

To me, glass brings two problems. First, it doesn’t age. So the cloudscrapers made of it will probably look the same in 50 years as they do today. For their owners, that’s the point, I know. But, this apparent immobility does nothing to humanise the areas it dominates.

Who wants to live, age and die in a city that refuses to do the same? Life is a cycle and decay is every bit as important as growth. Ask musicians whether they’d enjoy playing instruments that don’t age, and produce notes that don’t decay … It feels to me like building with glass is disconnecting the building from its dwellers. Are the clients commissioning those buildings so afraid of death they can’t envision an artchitecture that can evolve?


And the second issue with glass (or flat, shiny, rectangular, metal panels, for that matter) is that it doesn’t appear to lend itself to original shapes very easily. It seems that we’re stuck with variously patterned rectangular shoe boxes for as long as this construction technique is dominant. None of this feels very organic or nurturing.

And it’s the combination of those two traits that is threatening the lovely balance that’s made London such a stimulating place to photograph for the past 30 years. When all that’s being built is flat, shiny and ageless, that lovely time-layering disappears completely and, with it, the feeling of being cocooned by elders. Now it’s just glass giants defying entropy in their refusal to die, not realising they were never really born in the first place, since they severely lack soul.

All’s not lost, yet. Even areas of London heavily dominated by this recipe still display some manner of originality and style. But how about we move on to something new and original, now ?


How about we reboot that mixing of styles that’s made London so unique?

Isn’t it time steel and glass retired their sore old bones to give way to something more organic, more fresh, more foreward-thinking and in line with the growing values of the time? Isn’t architecture at the intersection of technology and culture? Isn’t it time the steel and glass that leaned on wood and stone to shine brightly as a new guard, now became the background to some new trend? We’ve had our dose of perfectly aligned immortal buildings, can we have a healthy measure of life and disorder back, now, please?

Fact is, it’s happening. I see it in smaller scale developments.


While the more spectacular developments still cling to the CEO-friendly recipe, the design teams responsible for smaller buildings seem more at liberty to go haywire. I see bamboo, organic shapes, recycled stone, oddities everywhere, on paper at least. Could this be the early harbingers of a nascent trend, an avant-garde bent on bringing in a new wave of more human dwellings and offices? Will we soon be treated to a change of style and values so radical and powerful enough to send the great undying into their well deserved retirement, and bring back some of that novelty vibe that those elongated glass houses provided themselves, some decades ago?


I certainly hope so. And I hope that whoever is pushing this trend forward doesn’t feel the need to eclipse the past, but will blend in with it, as has so often been done before.

Many of my friends, particularly at uni, didn’t understand why I’d return to London over and over, when Tahiti and Waikiki beckoned. It’s simple. What London lacked in geographical travel, it more than made up for in time travel.

Maybe it’s just me. But, if it isn’t, I hope that those in charge of new developments keep in mind the glorious juxtaposition that’s so unique and do their best to add their own new layer of brilliance and human touch to it πŸ™‚


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  • Sean says:

    Hi Pascal,
    Cracking article and images. It’s this bit, and I quote “… Entropy is commonly associated with disorder. It should be associated with life…” that’s a real pearl of wisdom, for me at least. This, I think is a key driver to engage and record change, using ones photographic eye. Entropy, or change, provides a cornerstone to springboard from, so as to develop, pursue and secure a photographic record based on revisits, say, to a particular locale to subjectively photograph, over time, observed ‘change in life linked to life of change’ [for want of better words]. This very notion of entropy is what drives one to revisit a particular area with camera in hand – to record change. The challenge is to be able to get under the surface of familiarity within areas of revisit, so as to be attuned to change – both the subtle and the obvious – and photographically capitalise on what one subjectively reacts to, say, in line with what you Pascal, refer to as “… different types of creators and spectators … 1, 2 and 3…” It takes practice accompanied by lots of walking, too; but it’s an exercise well worth the endeavour, as revealed by your discussion and images above, presented in your usual logical and well thought out approach. Nice.

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    I’m afraid I can’t share your enthusiasm, Pascal. Buildings of the genre of the Guggenheim in Bilbao and the Sgrada Famiglia in Barcelona are so stunning, so unique, that they can do and be whatever they like.

    But for the rest of us, good design means “good street manners”. And the way monied savages are carving up the London skyline, with buildings blatantly – shrieking their heads off! – screaming “I was built to a budget – to make money for my owners – and to hell with the lot of you – stop staring!” Sorry – I can’t deal with it. Maybe the next generation or the one after will mount a counter attack.

    Stuff like this happens all over. It’s not just London’s fault. I was driving past a beautiful lake, this morning, on my way to pick up some A3 smooth pearl, which has been out of stock for ages. It’s a beautiful lake – and a beautiful drive, going past it. But on the other side of the drive, there seems to be some kind of competition. To see who can produce the ugliest, most tasteless, mansion. Nothing but vulgar, ostentatious display. Till you get to the end of it, and see something that could have been designed by someone like Le Courbusier. Aha! – but I know who built that! – and until now, I could never understand why they sold it. But of course that’s not true – sadly, I CAN now see why they chose to sell up and relocate.

    I’ll stick to my memories of an earlier version of London. Without the Gherkin – or the Shard – or (and especially this lot!) all those bland, boring, featureless, concrete and/or glass blocks.

    When they started doing it here, I used to say it was just a form of penis envy – one after another, building “the tallest building”, with a total disregard to “features” like “fire safety”, or the economics of it (buildings get a thicker and thicker core, as they rise up to the stars – reducing rental area and increasing operating costs at the same time)

    Depending on the cost of land, there’s a “break even point” – beyond which, going “higher” simply makes the building less economical.

    No offence – you did done nuttin’ wrong – t’ain’t any of it yore fault!

    And I did love your photo just below this line – “(well, it will probably evaporate )”

    • pascaljappy says:

      Ah, but that’s my point. The Sagrada Familia (which I find hideous, but is indeed stunning) is made of … ciment and sludge? And the Guggenheim in Bilbao is 25 years old. Brilliant, but … time to move on to fresh ideas, now, maybe.

      And yes, some older buildings were spectacular in their own right but more recent ones tend to teeter towards tasteless displays of wealth, much like the mansions on the lake you mention. No originality, just a display or how much of the existing “state of the art” you can afford. It’s a shame and that’s what I mean when I say architecture is coming to a point of high entropy. In some places, it is just more of the same … there’s no contrast any more.

      We had our share of that in France, in the 70s when everyone found it cool to build brutalist concrete monstrosities that probably evoked some lofty idea in the client’s mind (or the architect’s ?) but sentenced the people who had to live there to misery. The Airport in Charles de Gaule (Paris) is a tedious example of this movement and it shames me that it’s the first thing many people see of France. Soon followed by overpriced crappy hotels and polished with overpriced crappy brasseries. The trifecta, complete. What a shame for the tourists and for Paris.

      Whatcha printing on that smooth pearl? πŸ™‚

      I don’t mind the shard or the gherkin, they have exception going for them. It’s the hundred non-descript others that bother me and are taking over rather than blending in.

      Oh well … that’s two voices against the continuation of the trend. Just another 10 million and we may be heard πŸ˜‰


      • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

        Well – that’s a welcome relief – I’ve spent the past 24 hours inside out, worrying about how my perspective might offend you, after all the effort you’ve put into taking those photos and making this contribution to DS.

        One thought did keep recurring – the line in “Pirates of Penzance”, where Frederic announces his desire to quit the pirates by saying “Individually, I love you all with affection unspeakable; but, collectively, I look upon you with a disgust that amounts to absolute detestation.”

        Indeed, SOME – not “all” – of these structures ARE worthy of affection. Most however are boring from end to end.

        Oh yes, La Grande Arche de la DΓ©fense! Waouh! Best photographed from afar, like I did – from the top of the other one, the Arc de Triomphe – amazing! Crystal sharp, and absolutely no camera shake or camera movement – with no tripod – at a about /125th, I think, from memory! A HUGE bow to Nikon for the camera, and SIGMA for the 50mm ART lens. What was that? – oh – yes – quite – I’m meant to be talking about “architecture”, aren’t I?

        • pascaljappy says:

          No no, no hard feelings at all, your comments are always very interesting. I love the analogy with the Pirates of Penzance πŸ™‚

          • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

            Pascal, when I first moved to this city (Perth – Western Australia), there was a fever in the air – a sense of excitement, of renewal – and planning for a golden new future. No longer “sleepy hollow”, no longer quaint and old fashioned, no longer living off memories of its “golden” past. Gold mining still existed, true – but there was a whole new mining industry opening.

            Part of this planning included the establishment of a “profile” or “horizon line”. All new buildings had to be contained within this “horizon line”. So that the view of the city skyline, from the south (from the other side of the river that runs past the CBD) would always be “pleasing to the eye”.

            It worked for a while. Then of course people with large & valuable blocks of land who found this profile limited the height of any buildings they could erect were furious because they were dipping out. Never mind that – nature eventually took its own course, and to a high degree, this profile still exists – because it simply reinforced where most people WOULD want tall buildings.

            The outcome’s far from perfect. But far better than what I’ve seen in most other places around the world. And I have to bear some of the responsibility for some of it anyway – because when I came to this city, there was an apparent vacuum of legal skills, and at least 5 of the more monumental scale redevelopments only happened
            because of my contributionn.

            However this style of CBD construction has other issues – hotch potch redevelopment on a site by site basis is only one of its many “fails”.

            A more glaringly obvious one is safety. I later found myself working in one of those buildings – in a building designed in two halves, split in the middle by a dedicated plant room floor half way up the tower, with another similar floor on the top. The reason? – it was all because available fire fighting equipment would only be capable of serving the bottom half of the building. If a fire broke out in the top half, there was no way that fire hoses, or firemen’s ladders, could possibly deal with it – and it would just be left to burn out, while the bottom half could be saved.

            That’s not an aesthetic issue of course. But this is small comfort for anyone finding themselves trapped in a fire! And the office I occupied in that building was half way up the top half of it!

            Thankfully it never went up in flames. Instead, a fire broke out in the lower half. The flames were [mostly] contained on one floor – so was the smoke damage, although this did permeate through much of the bottom 12 stories it wasn’t “too bad”.

            But a design fail revealed another problem, one probably not unique to this building. Floor slabs were designed from the outset, to carry any excess water away from the central core of the building, to the edge of the floor slab – where the excess water would then pass into the external skin or cladding of the building, and from there, pass down to the ground floor. Messy for pedestrians, but there wouldn’t be too many of those around the street level of the building in the event of fire.

            Unfortunately, over the years, as different tenants moved in or out, their needs differed – wiring was replaced – lighting was changed – office machinery relocated. even “internal staircases” within an area on several levels, occupied by the same tenant, provided a quite large “puncture” in the floor slabs.

            So what started as an “unfortunate accident” – a piece of paper jammed in a photocopier, after hours, when only one girl was in the relevant office, and she panicked with the machine caught fire because she had no idea what to do, so she fled the scene and by the time she got out of the building and rang for help, and help finally turned up, it had made a REAL mess. Flood damage from the internal fire sprinkler system, permeating through all those “small holes” in the floor slab. put at least three other floors out of action – the photocopier floor was a disaster scene – and the whole affair had a very sobering impact.

            9/11 NY provided a far greater and far more theatrical example, where two much larger buildings were destroyed and many lives lost. And we’ve read of countless other similar tragedies around the world, as a result of all sorts of “failings” in these huge buildings. Huge sheets of external glass cladding flying off the side of them. Foundations collapsing. Other collapse, caused by earthquakes or floods.

            And yet another one. Many/most of these buildings have a limited shelf life. Until last century, city buildings generally were built to last. There was no in-built “time horizon”. What began as a castle or a monastery might become a school or a hospital or a bank or an apartment block. Successive generations would make internal modifications but the buildings all stood the test of time and might last for 500 or a thousand years.

            During last century that stopped. Almost completely. Now, these buildings are often designed to last for as little as 40 years. Many are still intended to last longer, but because of the enthusiasms of owners & developers, they’re often pulled down early.

            And around the world, this is giving rise to massive problems. What to do with all the waste, as they’re pulled down and replaced? The concrete – the glass – any asbestos (particularly common in insulation) – and all the rest of the junk. The world’s pretty much run itself out of landfill sites. A lot of this stuff is toxic. These demolitions generate a lot of this stuff.

            And the flip side of that. The pollution caused by making the building materials in the first place – or worse, in making them all over again as these buildings topple and get replaced. This also makes a massive increase in pollution – all kinds of pollution, including but not limited to carbon dioxide, which is already spiralling out of control.

            So – big yawn – no – I am totally “over” this phase of our recent past, and the mess it’s made and still is making of our cities. We’ve gone down the wrong path, yet again, and we need to come to our senses on this kind of urban plague, as well as improving our behaviour as a species – and our impact on the environment – in all sorts of other ways. COVID is part of the problem – but in the end it will serve as only one small example of what a mess we’ve made for ourselves, and indeed, for everything else on the planet.

  • Pascal Ravach says:

    Extremely interesting post, Pascal!
    You don’t often wander in the Philosophers’s deep territory, but when you do…
    It is clear that, indeed, London and architecture are a powerful incentive for you πŸ™‚

    As a side note, for people versed, like I am, in modern metaphysics, entropy *is* a reservoir of creative energy πŸ™‚

    Like you, I love London’s “drive”… at the same time, I love “timeless” places (like a couple monasteries lost in the Asian mountains… each time I return to them, the feeling of absolute peace of mind is still surprising); but yes in the first case I dislike “architects” architecture, as I name it… houses, buildings, structures, just built to flatten the ego of the people in charge, the architect included. These places are not always ugly, but they are… *dead*.
    And of course “open air museums” are timeless, but the wrong way; I saw way worst than Paris… visit “historic” villages and little cities like GruyΓ¨res in Switzerland, PΓ©rouse in France, etc (there are vast swats of such places), and you feel like you have been invited as an actor in the Truman Show πŸ™

    And about your – gorgeous – pictures, is it me and my errand memory, or do I detect an evolution (or as for me Paul Perton’s influence :D), toward more and more superb blacks?

    • pascaljappy says:

      Thanks, Pascal.

      The love of B&W is old but I usually mix & match colour and monochrome in my blog posts. My August 19th resolution is to be more deliberate about keeping my publications more consistent. Don’t worry, it will only last a few days πŸ˜‰


      • Pascal Ravach says:

        Oh, little misunderstanding here: I didn’t say “black & white”, I said “gorgeous blacks” πŸ™‚
        It was a compliment, not a complain πŸ˜€

        • pascaljappy says:

          Oh, sorry! Thanks πŸ™‚

          I’ve not been totally honest in my PP, to be honest πŸ˜‰ Some places I found dull are processed in a gray manner, and those with more personality got deeper blacks and more substance. Deceitful? πŸ˜‰

  • Nancee Rostad says:

    Nicely said, Pascal. You’ve taken a deeper dive into the subject than I could ever attempt! Thanks for sharing your superb architectural images which inspire all of us to try a little harder. I especially like images 3, 6, 8. Look at you, delving neatly into abstract expression with ease.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Thanks Nancee. A longer lens would probably help in getting more abstract photographs. This was a 35mm eq. and sometimes stitched to go wider. A 50 or 75, next time? Cheers

  • Pascal O. says:

    Thank you for a most interesting article, Pascal, and the kind comments which made my day.

    Currently reading Erik Larson’s last opus about Churchill’s first year in office during the war, May 1940 to 41, one is reminded that London was pounded by the enemy like there was to be no tomorrow.
    Fortunately (or not?), Paris survived intact, as the German governor did not follow orders to destroy it upon leaving.
    This may be part of an explanation as to why both capitals have a distinct view on sacred cows etc.
    London having suffered so much needed to rebuild, and may be thus more “open” to newness, whereas Paris clings on to its (brilliant) past, thank you Baron Haussmann who was the last “remodeler” of Paris late in the 19th century.

    And to Paris’ contemporary defence, I would say that bold approaches are sometimes taken on board, as the recent LVMH museum testifies.
    You may like it or not (as it indeed takes some influence from the Bilbao Guggenheim) but bold, different it is.

    Now on format, you pictures are, as always, stunning, superb.
    Interesting you chose to publish exclusively in black and white. Any comment on that?
    Thank you again.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Thanks, Pascal. Obviously, you’re right. Tokyo is another example of rising from the ashes of war. I still think the French are very fond of history and very attached to their historical monuments. We could have rebuilt Notre Dame in a million different ways. Today, it is 80% tourist attraction, 19,99% a place of worship and 0,01% an exhibit about construction techniques of the past. And yet …

      The LVMH musem is stunning. And, viewed from the park at the back, you get those old meets new scenes that appeal to me so much, with a Korean temple in the foreground. Just yum.

      B&W only because I think colour would have been distracting in a post about shape and texture. And also because it allowed me to adapt the PP to my liking of the scene or not. Some are more contrasty and “better” processed than others, that remained a bit more grey and uninteresting. Naughty πŸ˜‰

  • philberphoto says:

    Stunning, inventive, inspiring images, Pascal! But then, I have come to expect that from you (ah, expectations! :-() Bold B&W. Counter intuitive, forceful compositions. A masterclass!

  • Dallas Thomas says:

    Pascal, excellent and article and images, B&W does them justice again well done. D

  • Steve Mallett says:

    Pascal, wonderful piece and fab images. That old impostor immediately arises, “if I had one of those cameras maybe I could make images like that! Moving on. The steel and glass thing I’ve always found interesting in the way it provides endless opportunities for abstract(ish) images and as you say the juxtaposition of old and new can provide interesting tension. But what always strikes me about this modern architecture is the lack of visual detail. Buildings insist on being noticed, they shout at you, but then offer little for the eye to dwell on. It’s like a visual version of much modern music, compressed, normalised, quantised and autotuned. Demanding attention but leading nowhere. Where are the modern adornments, curlicues, gargoyles and such that give the eye something to linger on? And the odd plank of wood wouldn’t go amiss.

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