Paris, My Cut
We challenged a photographer to capture glimpses of unexpected, everyday life in Paris—and found ourselves falling in love with the city all over again.
About the Photographer
Ian Gittler is an author, photographer, and designer living in New York City. He is currently working on two new long-form books, one about youth culture and another comprised of detailed still lifes of vintage motors. You can catch him online at iangittler.com.
Best Road Trip?
"Sound Avenue any summer afternoon, heading east on the north fork of Long Island."
Favorite Travel-Inspiring Book?
"Robert Frank's The Americans"
Biggest Travel Gripe?
"I wish I spoke a few more languages—or even one more. It would make moving about less cumbersome, more respectful, and way more romantic."
1 This is Paris, and I was as curious and enthusiastic about being here as anyone. Luckily the jaded French artistes I know were busy rioting at the university, so I was free to wander and snap pictures of random or even insignificant details simply because I thought they might inspire a sweet memory at some point down the line. Photo
2 A typical Paris apartment building with typically romantic details: A spiral staircase is lit by sunlight through diagonal, floor-to-ceiling windows. The building's elevator seems to be an afterthought and barely fits two people—that in itself is kind of romantic, too. Photo
3 The man pictured looks like actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, but it's actually France's current prime minister at 16. The poster was pasted around town, and it reminded me of the French New Wave film movement of the '60s. The headline promises something entirely different and more indicative of our modern preoccupations: "The secrets of youth." Photo
4 A lot has changed about Paris, but for the most part, the skyline hasn't. There are so few tall buildings here that a low-hanging, late afternoon sun bathes Montmartre with brilliant winter light. I was standing on a friend's balcony breathing in the very cold air of a city I hadn't seen in years and years, and this view felt like a memory. Photo
5 Jean Cocteau designed the interior of Cinema Studio 28, a movie theater and café. I guess I really am a tourist, attracted to signage that wouldn't interest me if it were in English. Photo
6 Paris is a city of grand thoroughfares, but they all seem to be connected by narrow, winding passageways and secret shortcuts. Montmartre is a great place to get lost, although preferably on the way back down the hill. Photo
7 No, these French babies were not sharing a smoke, and yes, their mothers were nearby. I have no clue what this wall in place des Abbesses, at the edge of Pigalle, is all about, but I liked its look. Photo