Accompanied by a fascinating historical portrayal, the book presents a unique and aesthetic vision of Paris because no one else has ever photographed and written about the bridges that cross the Seine in this way.
New York, NY, USA (December 22, 2014) — Most Parisians will be shocked by the unnoticed and unheralded beauty of the bridges across the Seine River that they cross over in the city every day.
That’s because very few Paris residents have witnessed the stunning beauty of the bridges at night as displayed in a one-of-a-kind book of black and white photos of the 35 bridges crossing the Seine in city limits as captured by Gary Zuercher.
Zuercher spent five years photographing the 35 bridges at night during the winter months and another year researching the history of the bridges, gathering anecdotes, printing and assembling the prints to put to press the recently published The Glow of Paris: The Bridges of Paris at Night (ISBN 978-0-9906309-0-6, Marcorp Editions, 2014, 208 pages, $49.95, available on Amazon and at: http://www.marcorp-editions.com.
The Glow of Paris is an eclectic collection of extraordinary gelatin-silver photographic prints of the bridges of Paris – nighttime images that are breathtaking. Accompanied by a fascinating historical portrayal, the book presents a unique and aesthetic vision of Paris because no one else has ever photographed and written about the bridges that cross the Seine in this way.
“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 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.
• The name of the Pont au Change Bridge comes from the time of Louis VII (1137-1180), who in 1141 ordered the moneychangers to locate on the bridge. This allowed visitors entering the city to change money there. In 1304 Philippe le Bel (1268-1314) authorized gold and silver dealers to join the moneychangers on the bridge.
• 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, (three not two)” 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.
About Gary Zuercher
In addition to being a professional photographer and successful businessman, Zuercher is a commercial pilot with more than 2,000 hours of flight time. He held the patent for wave pools and his equipment was used in hundreds of wave pools in the U.S. He also was a pioneer in spraygrounds at public recreation sites and for both accomplishments he was elected to the Waterpark Association Hall of Fame. Zuercher spent five years photographing the bridges of Paris at night and another year in historical research for his book. He divides his time between homes in Paris and Washington, DC with his wife Dominique who is French.
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 by phone at 734-667-2090 or http://www.book-marketing-expert.com.