Saturday, June 11, 2011
BOOK REVIEW: Paris: A Journey Through Time
Author: Leonard Pitt
Release Date: March 2011
A visually stunning array of archival and contemporary photos of this iconic city that document its architectural transformation.
How would Paris look if images from its glorious past were placed side-by-side with photographs of the city today? In Paris: A Journey Through Time, Leonard Pitt does just this.
With a stunning array of archival and contemporary photos he peels away the many layers of old Paris to document the city's transformation with events such as the demolition of a section of rue Beaubourg in 1975 and its eventual reconstruction into modern condos and a shopping centre, or the narrow cobblestoned rue du Four becoming the wide, paved street we know today bustling with automobiles and bicycles. Along with these photos from the past and present come detailed maps for walking tours with old schematics and plans for construction that may or may not have been carried out, illustrating the strange ways that a city can develop over hundreds of years.
Painstakingly researched, Paris: A Journey Through Time is a tour through Paris, seen through the lens of photographers who lived during each golden age of demolition and construction, and compiled into one tremendous account of the true hidden Paris.
For someone like me who has never had the means or opportunity to travel the world, books like this one; Paris A Journey Through Time, are a blessing. The visual catalogue of the famous streets, scenes and imagery of such a romantic city could never fully capture the essence and atmosphere, but it sure made me feel like I’d been there. The maps and overlays of new and old streets, along with photos and pictures of the changing scenery of Paris were amazing. I really appreciated the architecture and manmade beauty of this city through these fantastic photos.
Living in a newer nation, we don’t have such a wealth of history and it is amazing to see the past and present of Paris and how such breathtaking structures have endured time and man. I hope Leonard Pitt produces other books in a similar style, such as for other European cities.