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5.0 out of 5 stars
1
5.0 out of 5 stars
Above Paris: The Aerial Survey of Roger Henrard
Format: Hardcover|Change
Price:£30.00+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 1 July 2010
This book will be of most interest to architects, historians and urban designers, but I wouldn't rule it out for anyone who likes maps or cities. It's an aerial survey of Paris, made between 1948 and 1972, by Roger Henrard. I'm quite surprised no one else has reviewed it, it's wonderful. It is small for a book of photographs; although it's over three-hundred pages, it's only about seven inches high and a foot wide. The photographs are extremely sharp and detailed (that's probably why they are so interesting) and as varied as the city itself. They are taken from different heights: sometimes you can see bollards and pedestrians or every figure at an open-air swimming pool, occasionally there's a view from very high up that extends all the way to the horizon. Most of the time you're looking almost directly downwards. It's a mesmerising book, sort of like reading the dictionary: you were just going to look up one thing and two hours later you look at the clock and don't know where the time went. There's a chapter of railway stations and railway lines, shots of Les Halles in the nineteen-fifties, pictures taken following the river, axial pictures down the avenues, Paris parks, the Vincennes zoo, zooming past the top of the Eiffel tower -- these are random examples, the whole city is here. On each page there's a commentary and explanation of what you're looking at, made by Jean-Louis Cohen. He's also put detailed diagrams on every page showing where the picture was taken and how it varies from today's plan of the city. There's a biography of Henrard and a brief history of aerial photography. Really, a gem of a book.
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