The reflection of buildings in other buildings "deconstructs" them, sometimes just leaving a fleeting image, floating without gravity, a blurred memory of the original structure. At the slightest change of light, the image disappears, reminding us of the ephemeral character of everything we construct. The juxtaposition of new and old, of works of art and functional buildings also provokes reflection on the persistent and the ephemeral. Some of the first images of reflections struck me as a surprise: leaving a business meeting at La Défense, and carrying my camera with me as always, I lifted my head and suddenly saw these images that I had never seen before passing the same spot. Had they always been there? Would they be there tomorrow? Try to see for yourself when you pass by. I don’t think you will ever see quite the same image: Light and colours change all the time, the surface of the buildings is more or less clean and reflecting, the air is crisp or smoggy. And of course, you look at things differently.


2300KFDPRW=0.16 GW=0.16 BW=0.16 RB=9.99 GB=9.99 BB=9.99Topaz ''This amazing reflection of the Tour Elf (now Tour Total) in the almost black surface of the Tour Framatome (now Tour Areva) struck me at an evening while walking towards the RER train station. I had never seen the reflection so strongly and I have hardly ever seen it like this again. When I tried to sell the image to Total (then TotalFinaElf) a very kind lady told me she could never use the image since it showed the "wrong logo", albeit as a mirror image. I argued that it was no use trying to reshoot the image, since no company could call itself "TotalFinaElf" in the long run, even thoug this incredibly long name had been fixed (necessarily in rather small letters) at the top of the tower. I think she agreed with me, but could not say so without contradicting company policy. Of course, the long name has disappeared today, and the top of the tower is adorned with the "Total" name and logo. So much about the ephemeral character of companies.''


Strong Geometry and floating tower ''Emerging from the bowels of the CNIT after a day at a trade show, I was dazzled to see this image of the CNIT and Tour Cegetel (Originally Tour Bull, Tour SFR today), floating as a reflection like an ice cube in glass of Martini. When I dropped my briefcase and took out my camera, aiming with a rather large tele-lens at the shopping centre across the Esplanade, several other people in business suites stopped to look at the image my lens pointed to, and exclaimed in surprise. Most of us must have come out of the CNIT on similar occasions dozens if not hundreds of times. Apparently none of us had ever looked up to see what we saw now. Maybe the image was never quite as clear. Maybe the photographic process hightened the blue of the skye reflecting in the green glass of the shopping centre. If it did, it certainly concurred to show what I saw. Or did it change my memory of the "real" image because this is exactly what I would have loved to see? Did I see this because my mind "corrected" the image at the instant I saw it? Did my fellow onlookers see the same blue skye on green glass? I have never seen this image again quite the same way.''


If you don't see the "ephemeral nature" of the Tour Descartes in the first image below, maybe you will see it in the second - and better understand what I am talking about.

Tour Descartes I Tour Descartes II


Human beings are passers by in the universe of these photographs, if they appear at all. With several ten thousand people working at La Défense, you can of course also take pictures there with lots of people. Most of the time they are in movement, bustling. One of the most amazing “static” crowd images presented itself to me on an early spring day, when hundreds of darkly clad business people simply stood there turning their faces to the sun. They reminded me of birds gathering before migration.

Spring Birds

"Spring Birds"



Most of the photographs on this topic can be found in my Web-Gallery "La Défense", but those of the Louvre and the BNF (Bibliothèque Nationale de France) have been taken in the same spirit. (Gallery Paris).