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Yvon's Paris

Robert Stevens (Author)


Photographs of the City of Light taken by a master photographer in the early part of the twentieth century.

The photographer Pierre Yves-Petit, who called himself “Yvon,” wandered the streets of Paris between the world wars looking for the moment when the shifting light and clouds would perfectly reveal the city’s ephemeral, iconic beauty. The dramatic images of the city and its people that he made during those years would become the most popular postcards in France. They can still be bought today on Parisian quais and are eagerly sought by collectors.

With an eye for startling viewpoints and unusual weather conditions, Yvon photographed the city awakening at dawn, in the shimmering afterglow of rain, or seen over the shoulder of a gargoyle high atop a cathedral. Yvon’s Paris reproduces more than one hundred of his loveliest images, many made from recently discovered glass negatives. This elegant and poetic collection captures the magic of Paris at its most photogenic—the way many of us romantically wish it still were.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • May 2010
  • ISBN 978-0-393-05148-3
  • 9.5 × 11.3 in / 160 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

Yvon’s Paris offers dozens of glorious photographs, many filling two pages—flat paper magically alive with moments stolen from time. ... Yvon’s photographs beautifully remind us that our own fleeting lives are the motion lost in slow exposures.” — Washington Post

“This stunning collection presents a hundred iconic black-and-white photographs of Paris taken from 1918 to 1939 by Pierre Yves-Petit, who went by “Yvon.” … His moody photos of bookstalls, bridges, barges, gargoyles, galleries, and gardens capture the quintessence of the City of Light.” — National Geographic Traveler

“Gorgeous.” — The New York Times Book Review

“While most postcards showed straightforward, unimaginative views of the capital city, one photographer in particular—Pierre Yves Petit (who called himself Yvon)—sought to change that by capturing Paris in the early mornings and late nights, when the light was more dramatic, or in unusual weather conditions.” — Vanity Fair

“Are Yvon’s photographs as resonant as they are because they capture the spirit of Paris so well? Or is Paris as resonant as it is because it captures the spirit of Yvon’s postcards so well?” — The New York Times "Lens" blog

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