B.C. Before Capa

14 04 2008

paris en image

Paris, France. Spring of 1871. After a four month siege of Paris by the Prussian army in a war started by Napoleon III, the French Government decides to surrender. In a decaying world where aristocracy is loosing its powers on the emerging working class,they also decide to let the German army parade in Paris. To add insult to injury, the french government relocates to Versailles, once the headquarters of the French Royalty.

The Parisian population, left defenseless, decide to take their fate in their own hands and organizes its protection. The Prussians, probably aware of the existing tensions, parade briefly and leave. The population of Paris takes control of the city and start their own independent government, called the “commune”. It will later be an insperition to Karl Marx, thus the name “communist”.

The French government send troops into Paris and it’s a bloody civil war, with mass execution. The revolution of the Parisians will have lasted only two lonely spring months. But it still has repercussions today.

Archive photo Agency Roger-Viollet has put up some great photographs of the uprising. Because, before Capa, there where other Capa’s. Without the advantage of fast film, most of the images are posed and lack the action of our current photojournalism. But they are poignant as well. Just to show that great images can make you learn about distant conflict, even in time.

Some commentaries are in French, but the trip is very well worth it. View it here.

And for those in love with the eternal city of light, the main site is all about historical views of the city.

http://www.parisenimages.fr/

A great idea of what a photo agency can do when they think a little bit outside the box.


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