Hubert Damisch writes about the James' ability to photograph the ancient capital, with its intense modernity and bustling population, as if it were an archeological site. Nearly always empty of human presence, his photographs of the Porte Saint-Denis, the Boulevard Saint-Martin or the Opéra Bastille focus on the city itself. Damisch, a native Parisian, walks us through what James has seen.
We see the quartiers that haunted André Breton and the Surrealists, the Passage de l'Opéra made famous by Aragon, the narrow streets so dear to Walter Benjamin and places which for Damisch himself hold strong childhood memories of the German Occupation. In forty-four tritone reproductions, some immediately identifiable as Parisian and others not, James reveals the immense force concealed within this city. In English and French.