Tales of Denim 15.02.2016

Denim in Paris, 1923

“He who contemplates the depths of Paris is seized with vertigo. Nothing is more fantastic. Nothing is more tragic. Nothing is more sublime.” – Victor Hugo

Colourful photographs of mind-blowingly beautiful Paris in 1923 by Jules Gervais-Courtellemont. It was a picturesque and idyllic time when Paris was still Paris – the streets weren’t jammed with noise and cars, the abundant city parks were filled with flowers and greenery, the gentlemen wore hats and women denim skirts blue as the smog-free skies.

Jules Gervais-Courtellemont was a French photographer born in 1863 outside of Paris, in the province of Seine-et-Marne, but grew up mostly in Algeria where he developed a passion for the pre-colonial Orient and therefore, devoted most of his professional career in search of the exotic.

As a restless traveler, he roamed throughout the Middle East and north Africa, from Morocco to Turkey. He even traveled as far as India and China, photographing as he went.

Gervais-Courtellemont was one of the first masters of Autochrome, an early colour photography process. Patented in 1903 by the famous Lumiére brothers, Autochrome used a layer of potato starch grains dyed red, green and blue, along with a complex development process, to produce a dreamy colour transparency.