‘The Glow of Paris- The Bridges of Paris at Night’ author says “It’s about time.”
Paris, France (June 1, 2015) — Napoleon’s final battle is in its final throes and it looks like it will be a victory. The love locks on Paris’s Pont des Arts Bridge, which Napoleon commissioned in 1807 will be removed from bridge beginning next week.
“It’s about time,” says Paris Bridge Photographer Gary Zuercher, “The problems of the locks has become an urban nuisance and they are defacing some of the most beautiful architecture in the world.” How long would we as American tolerate thousands of ‘love locks’ on our national monuments, say at the Golden Gate Bridge or at Gettysburg? Not long.”
Love Locks are padlocks that ‘lovers’ attach to bridges, then the key is tossed into the Seine River to embody their affection. Now Paris fed up and will remove the locks.
Zuercher spent five years photographing the bridges of Paris at night and another year in historical research for his book.
The Glow of Paris: The Bridges of Paris at Night is an eclectic collection of extraordinary gelatin-silver photographic prints of the 35 bridges of Paris – nighttime images that are breathtaking. (ISBN 978-0-9906309-0-6, Marcorp Editions, 2014, 208 pages, $49.95 available on Amazon and at: http://www.marcorp-editions.com).
The London Book Festival and The Los Angeles Book Festival recently proclaimed his book The Glow of Paris- The Bridges of Paris at Night one of the best books in the photography/art category in the 2015 competitions. Last week in NYC, the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY) bestowed a Gold Medal First Place award.
These awards come on the heels of the accolades by Kirkus Reviews who called The Glow of Paris one of “Nine Best Books Out This Week.” (Jan 20) and named it “This Week’s Book to Discover.” (May 14) Kirkus further stated:
“A superb pictorial evocation of the City of Light, full of dazzling images and intriguing lore.” – Kirkus Reviews
“For the most part Parisians take these architectural wonders for granted, relying on their functionality to get them where they want to go each day,” says author Zuercher. “They don’t appreciate the beauty because most don’t see the glow of the bridges at night. And most have forgotten that from Julius Caesar to Princess Diana, the bridges of Paris have played in important role in world history.”
The fascinating narrative that accompanies the artistic black and white photos includes historical facts and little known tidbits about the bridge, such as:
• The history of these bridges precede the birth of Christ. In 52 BC Julius Caesar conquered Paris; the earliest recorded mention of the bridges is found in Caesar’s Gallic War commentaries. Most of the later history evolves from around the time of the Middle Ages and thereafter.
• On the morning of October 3, 1943, an aircraft hit the Pont de Tolbiac Bridge and crashed into the Seine, killing the four Frenchmen on board. The four were members of the Free French Air Force who had flown from an airfield in England to participate in the allied bombing of a power station outside of Paris.
• Bridges constructed prior to the late eighteenth century normally had houses and shops built directly on them. Floods, ice floes, fires, boat collisions, and structural failures frequently destroyed the bridges. The collapsing bridges took the houses and shops down with them, and often their occupants as well. In 1769 Louis XV finally outlawed the construction of houses on the bridges, but it took until 1808 for the last building to be removed.
• The Pont des Arts seems to have the densest proliferation of locks, perhaps because of the French adage that roughly translates as “a lock on the Pont des Arts is your commitment for life and a lock on the Pont de l’Archevêché is your commitment to your lover.” It is estimated that more than 250,000 are attached to the Pont des Arts. According to the newspaper Le Figaro, the weight of the locks is 300 kilos per lineal meter. That equals 205,207 pounds, a considerable weight for the bridge to bear. From time to time the guardrail fence starts to fail under the weight and has to be replaced, at which point the locks are simply thrown away.
• Early on, the Pont Neuf was the center of a permanent fair, a meeting point for all the sophisticated as well as the vulgar pleasures of the capital. At any moment you would find street performers-acrobats, fire-eaters, and musicians- charlatans and quacks, as well as hustlers and pickpockets, not to mention a lively trade in prostitution. Among the many businesses were several famous “tooth pullers.”
“This information will be of great interest to not only tourists and historians but also to Parisians who have limited knowledge of the 35 bridges in their city and are surprised at the number of islands in the Seine,” says Zuercher. “There is a great deal of truth in the words of author Monique Marty who wrote of the bridges – ‘They are the extension of the streets, the hyphens between the two river banks. We cross them on foot, by car, by Metro. We see them without looking at them and that’s a shame’.”
Zuercher, an artist in the darkroom as well as behind the lens, lives half a year in Paris and the other half in Washington, D.C. He develops the film into negatives in Paris and then makes the prints in the D.C. darkroom. Often he would make 20 to 30 prints before coming up with just the right photo for his book. The results of his work prove what was written by Ansel Adams, “The negative is like the score of the music and the print is like the performance.”
The stories related to the project are rich enough to fill another book, such as the time he was refused access to a church roof to photograph an aerial shot because he could not be there while the nuns were sleeping. Or when he had to use mountain climbing equipment and the aid of city firefighters to climb to the top of city hall to shoot seven bridges from the air. Or when young thugs threatened him while Zuercher was working at night but were defused when he offered to take their pictures and email it to them.
Limited Edition: Along with a signed copy of the book, a gelatin silver photographic print of the “Seven Bridges” featured on the book’s cover, hand made to museum archival standards, will be available in limited quantity, signed by Gary Zuercher, mounted on 16″ x 20″ acid free mat board and ready for framing. For more information visit http://www.marcorp-editions.com.
Media Contact: For a review copy of The Glow of Paris or to arrange an interview with Gary Zuercher contact Scott Lorenz of Westwind Communications Book Marketing at scottlorenz[at]westwindcos.com or at 734-667-2090.
For more information about the Love Lock problem check out this article: http://www.wsj.com/articles/paris-says-aux-armes-against-love-lock-plague-1432903474.