Paris Picture of the Week

We have a couple of good friends who live in Paris, including Eric Tenin who is the founder of parisdailyphoto — a wonderful site featuring his pictures from the City of Light. I was so taken by Eric’s photos (and I so love Paris) that I invited him to send me a picture a week to feature on our blog — our own window into Paris each week. This is the first picture, but more pics can be seen each day on his site.

I was taken by this picture, particularly given last week’s discussion of the distressing appearance of graffiti in historical sites in Paris. You also see some extraordinary work by artists. Here is Eric’s description:

I found this “graffito” – I don’t really know what to call it – in Montmartre and I’m still amazed by its quality, for it’s actually made of little square tiles, which probably took a lot of time putting together. Louise Michel is a famous historical figure in France; she was born in 1830 and played an important role during the Paris “Commune” in 1871. It was not so usual for a woman to take part in the political life at that time. I guess the one who made this piece of art is one of her admirers…

Eric Tenin is the co-founder and CEO of, a mobile polling platform, but he is also a true Parisian (born and raised there). Since 2005, he’s been taking a photo of his home town every single day, to feed his (PDP) blog. Since the launch of PDP, thousands of other cities have joined his community, sharing their cities from a local view.

Eric, for me, captures the joy and adventure of Paris, which shows in his pictures. I figure that the next best thing of being in Paris is to seeing the city once a week through Eric’s eyes.

15 thoughts on “Paris Picture of the Week”

  1. AY, I wasn’t disputing your posting, in fact I wasn’t even replying to you. The Professor’s friend Eric characterized the work as “graffito”. Actually, I’ve seen pictures of spray-painted graffiti that, if the same work were on a canvas, would be characterized as masterful examples of graphic art. I like well done ‘graffiti’. I don’t think we’re disagreeing about anything, are we? Srsly, I seem to be a step or three behind in our conversation if we’re having one. LOL.

    I was just commenting on the piece, a stream of consciousness assessment basically so it’s a pretty flat statement, no real color or inflection so it probably ‘sounded’ flat, which may have translated to ‘harsh’ or …something.

    In any event the statement in the definition you posted “such marks may include a desire for recognition that is public in nature, and/or the need to appropriate public space or someone else’s private space for group or individual purposes.” is certainly true. Anyone that’s seen the abundance of gang graffiti in urban areas knows that there’s certainly a lot of territory marking going on.

  2. LK,

    I was making a snide joke, but here:

    Graffiti Definition: The Dictionary of Art

    Graffiti. Term applied to an arrangement of institutionally illicit marks in which there has been an attempt to establish some sort of coherent composition: such marks are made by an individual or individuals (not generally professional artists) upon a wall or other surface that is usually visually accessible to the public. The term “graffiti” derives from the Greek graphein (“to write”). Graffiti (s. graffito), meaning a drawing or scribbling on a flat surface, originally referred to those marks found on ancient Roman architecture. Although examples of graffiti have been found at such sites as Pompeii, the Domus Aurea of Emperor Nero (AD 54-68) in Rome, Hadrian’s Villa at Tivoli and the Maya site of Tikal in Mesoamerica, they are usually associated with 20th-century urban environments. Graffiti range from simple marks to complex and colorful compositions. Motives for the production of such marks may include a desire for recognition that is public in nature, and/or the need to appropriate public space or someone else’s private space for group or individual purposes. Illegitimate counterparts to the paid, legal advertisements on billboards or signs, graffiti utilize the wall of garages, public rest rooms, and jail cells for their clandestine messages. This illegal expression constitutes vandalism to the larger society.

    One man’s graffiti is another mans art and vice aversa….

  3. That was a well thought out and planned piece. The letters impressed in the tile are probably a custom job. Someone had to impress the clay, color and then wipe off the tiles and fire them, a process that is time consuming. Letters don’t come impressed on tiles and those tiles aren’t uniform, they sure don’t look mass produced. (I used a similar method on a clay vessel for a class back in the Pleistocene, got the type from my employer at a printing company I worked for and still have it.)

    From the way the piece is ‘proud’ of the wall it looks as if it was done on another surface (wood?) and placed on the wall then grouted around the perimeter. The portrait could be painted, a decoupage, or even a fired rendering done with glaze pencils.

    It’s a real tribute to Ms. Michel. Someone respects her a lot and wanted a long-lasting tribute to her. That’s kind of amazing to find stuck to a wall on a city street. It’s a work of collage, clay, glass, possibly paint or decoupage- not really in the same league with graffito. What a find.

  4. Very nice… I’ve bookmarked the site…and will send the link to a few of my more artistically inclined friends…

  5. Blouise,

    I could send you some links to some web sites that would make you cringe….either happily or dramatically angry….

  6. Pete,

    I do not know why they do it on the boxcars…But it is a break from the monotony of sitting at a 20 minute RRXing….Some of the people have talent…

  7. I LOVE this piece, even the graffitti has substance in Paris 🙂

  8. For those using Chrome….go to the wrench on the right side of the screen, then zoom it….

  9. Haven’t tried this:

    To do it in the visual editor, click the image so you see the mountain icon. Click that. The image editor will appear. Choose “Advanced Settings” and scroll down to “Target” and click the box that says “Open in a new window.” Update.

  10. JT – I’m not sure about WordPress capabilities but it would be nice if by clicking on the picture one actually got a full screen version, more like this.

  11. I do like this…we do have some great artist here that do drawings quite well on box cars….when caught though they are prosecuted….

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