The 'Week of the Photo'

photo: cafe au sans souci

For the 'Mois de la Photo,' I should of had 'Sans Souci.'

Where Is France Télécom?

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 6. November 2000:- After a week's pause, with only a few downpours for excitement, the high winds from the southwest are back - starting last night.

This would have made the late Sunday grand return from the week-long 'weekend' of Toussaint miserable for driving - and also canceled yesterday's scheduled start of the solo round-the-world sailing race, the 'Vendée Globe,' which was put back two days and this morning the start was rescheduled for Thursday.

But forecasted gusts of up to 140 kph expected for the coasts and lesser winds of up to 100 kph in interior areas failed to match the ferocity of the storm a week earlier. Britain was hit hard again, and there is a lot of flooding there

Even though forecasts are not spot-on accurate, if you are arriving in Paris today you can probably expect it to be a bit breezy. And cool - remember, it's cool in Paris now.

Café Life

Paris Photo Show - What? Where?

With most of the major fall events in Paris already up and running, the number of press announcements arriving at Metropole's mailbox has dribbled into a trickle, which suits me fine.

But Paris, which is so closely tied to photography's history, seems to be a bit reluctant to be forthcoming with information about its 'Mois de la Photo.' It is so obscure that I think I announced it at this time last year only to belatedly learn that it is a biannual event.

This year it is really happening, but this is unknown to my mailbox. The 'no information' about this event started in Metropole in issue 5.41 on Monday 12. October. Since then I have seen scattered posters for it. At mid-month, the city's magazine 'Paris - Le Journal' came out with one page about the 'Mois de la Photo.'

It contained the dates, three photos and a paragraph of text - all meant to sum up more than 40 various exhibitions - and mention of this year's theme, which is 'Paris.'

Since this event officially started a week ago on Sunday, on Friday I decided I should take a stab atphoto: photo cine j muller finding out about it. A call to the city's cultural affairs press service gave me a robot to talk to.

I figured if I waited for a 'call-back,' I might get the program for the coming edition, in 2002. So I bravely set out to pay my telephone bill, and pass by the shop called Photo/CIné J. Muller in the Rue des Plantes on the way.

Even though I live a block from the Rue Daguerre, there are no photography shops in it. An important photo club is three blocks away, but its posted program for November had no mention at all of the 'Mois de la Photo.'

Monsieur Muller did have a version of the 'Mois de la Photo' program and he made a photocopy of it for me. This good deed has saved the cookies, and you will find this year's program in this issue - which I think is about six months late.

Other than Mr. Muller's shop in the Rue des Plantes, there isn't much apparent photo-material activity in the area. The shop was started by Mr. Muller's father at the 'Puces' at Saint-Ouen in 1946, moved to 14. Rue des Plantes in 1957 and moved again to its present location, at 17. Rue des Plantes, in 1972.

The shop survives because of its specialties. It is the exclusive importer for Praktica products in France. The company's name is Pentacon and it is located in Dresden.

Other brand names in the shop are Olympus and Minox. But because of the length of time the shop has been operating, it has many used models, plus their accessories, parts and pieces.

The original Mr. Muller was also a cinema fan, so the shop features rare projectors for sale, such as the Pathé 'Baby.' For these, the shop has projector lamps made to order - which may make it the only place in the world to get them.

For our times, Mr. Muller showed me a brochure for a new Pentacon digital camera, that has just been introduced at this year's Photokina show. Called the Praktica Scan 2000, the camera is a still-photo model, which accepts Nikon or Schneider Kreuznach lenses.

Due to the image-capturing trilinear CCD, scans are effected in three passes, taking about 90 seconds. The result is large image sizes, from 48 MB up to 386 MB. The through-the-lens camera has no memory and has to be connected of a Mac or PC; ones with very big hard disks. The camera is quite tiny and only weighs 510 grams, without lenses.

While I was in the shop a customer picked up his new - but used - Rolleiflex-type 6x6, with a boxfull of accessories - which in itself is a reason for going all the way to near the bottom of the 14th arrondissement to Monsieur J. Muller's neat little photo shop.

For wheeling and dealing with used photo equipment, there will be a 'Foire de la Photo' on Saturday, 11. November, at Fleury-Merogis. InfoTel.: 01 60 15 21 21.

Metropole's 'Mois de la Photo'

In an average issue there are 16 to 25 new photographs of Paris or of subjects in the city. Often the photos have been taken forphoto: rue des orfevres a specific feature, such as the report about Toussaint in this issue.

Most features only contain five photos, so some issues run with some other photos relating to the feature. I didn't know for certain that I'd get a program for the 'Mois de la Photo' until Friday, which means the photos for it and other photos are just what 'happened.'

Rue des Orfevres, Paris 1.

For this reason there are two photos from Thursday's club meeting, and another 'Fiat 500 of the Week' makes an appearance. These may not add up to Metropole's 'Mois de la Photo,' but they are the best there is this week - more or less like any other week.

Some of this week's photos may be without captions. This does not mean they are named 'Untitled.' As photos that 'happened,' I simply don't know what some of them are.

Where is France Télécom?

When the state telephone and postal service was one outfit, it was possible to pay telephone bills in any post office - which was handy for paying with cash. Since the two services have divorced themselves commercially, there are still lots of post offices, but France Télécom is playing downsizing.

This is not strictly accurate, because the telephone operator has opened hundreds of outlets to peddle portable phones, but you cannot pay telephone bills at these even if you can sign a contract for the portable phone promo of the week.

Just about now, France Télécom is having to cede its monopoly for local calls - so it is opening this area for competitive rates, by fiddling with its line charges - some of which are coming down while others go up.

It is an attempt to make fixed telephone rates as confusing as the total jungle of portable rates. In case you want to argue about this in person, France Télécom is making itself hard to find.

This is why I got myself all the way down to the southwest corner of the 14th arrondissement, only to find the phone company's offices abandoned. Fortunately, they had left a note in the window, giving the address of their new location - up in a southern corner of the 5th arrondissement.

Thus I ended up having an interesting if unanticipated walk on Friday; having come out without any métro tickets. Even with a ticket, it would have taken two changes to get close to their new location - with all the métro tunnes to walk through anyway.

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