Monday, July 30, 2018

The photographers studio.

In the 1880's a wide boulevard was driven through the  medieval centre of the little market town. A local version of the Champs Elysees brought to deepest, deepest France profonde at a time when agricultural centres were wealthy. Palaces,churches and houses swept away by a kilometre long arrow of modernity. The town council used the well known architect Georges Haussmann (who redesigned Paris after the 1870's uprising) to implement the scheme. As Angus and the PONs head down towards the market we see that the local bank used to be a photographers studio. Not just a studio but a photographers ' building ' with a large marble advertising sign surmounted by a fancy coat of arms at first floor level. There must have been a time a hundred and fifty years ago  when being a photographer was an extremely lucrative profession. The building,on which no expense has been spared,  is a French provincial take on a Venetian palazzo. The pillars on either side of the doors at ground level are really very grand - in an understated way. Even the insertion of a plate glass window in the banking hall does little to diminish the structures grandness and sense of purpose. The day glo green bank signs are awful.

Now the little agricultural centre is a complete backwater but the photographers pride and joy lives on. This morning it is christened with a quick splash of Eau de Bob.


  1. Hari OM
    It is indeed a rather fine building - glad it stood far enough back to avoid the 'swathe de non triomphe'! There was a time when photographers were indeed much revered, particularly for portraiture for the up and coming 'middle' class. Now, everyone and their phone has a go and the portraiture is the self...

    My morning is begun with the sound of chooks a-laying three houses over, and a pair of cats having a rare old yarn... YAM xx

  2. The building is indeed well worth a second look. The many studio photos from the mid-late 1800s in my family album collection indicate that this was something that people, even those not particularly prosperous, were prepared to spend money on. Cheers, Gail.

  3. Strange that in many British towns The Bank was the important building and these days the bank has closed and a Coffee shop has taken over - no doubt where many a Selfie is taken.

  4. Being a photographer was still fairly lucrative right up until Apple put decent cameras in mobile phones. A friend who enjoyed the heydays is now eking out an existence in the final few years until retirement, his career not having played out at all as expected.
    In Carcassonne, many of the newer buildings were constructed in the gaps where fires had destroyed medieval structures (the boulevards follow the "new"--1260--fortress walls). Fires were a huge problem, since everybody used fire for cooking and candles for lighting yet there was no running water. In fact, ovens were banned in an attempt to reduce fires, and people were required to take their bread to the seigneur's oven for baking (why in pat-a-cake you mark it with a T). They would hang out and gossip while waiting for their bread to bake, which is where "banal" comes from--the four banal was the seigneur's oven when all others were banned.