We probably all have an image of Paris in our heads; a romantic, cliched view of a city most English speakers idealize and fantasize about. As a recent first-time visitor to the city of lights (affectionately nicknamed la Ville Lumière), I am also guilty of having this idea. I dreamed it would be full of tiny quaint shoebox-sized apartments covered with ivy, or snow (depending on the season); the cityscape full of scooter sounds zipping through the alleys, or cats screeching as they scampered over falling garbage cans. I’m not sure if I can say whether that vision was realized while I was there, or entirely imagined, but I can relive a certain nostalgia when I see the photography of Alain Cornu.
Cornu captures a theatrical side to the romantic city, illuminated in the moonlight. Focusing on the endlessly interesting rooftops of Paris, his images are a treat to look at. Full of so many angles, hidden corners, inviting skylights and alcoves that we would normally overlook, the images are like a sweet homage to the power of potential in the city.
Having previously worked in the genres of landscape, Cornu is well versed at turning his subjects into fascinating objects. His past series include trees, rocks, misty fields, piles of twigs, windows, walls, doorways, streets, beach fronts, and walkways. And while all of these things could potentially be boring and un-inspirational, they turn into something absorbing and engaging in the hands of this observant photographer.