The neighborhood of Montmartre in Paris’ 18th arrondissement, is one of duality. It’s home to one of the city’s most religious places, the Sacré-Cœur Basilica. The slightly more famous, Notre-Dame de Paris, being the other. But it’s also home to one of Paris’ more colorful stretches along the south end, boulevard Clichy and boulevard Rochechouart, containing various nightclubs and museums, much more sexual than religious in nature.
Recently made famous again around the world from films such as Moulin Rouge!, Amélie, Montmartre has historically been a bohemian haunt of an incredible array of legendary artists, including Salvador Dalí, Amedeo Modigliani, Claude Monet, Man Ray, Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Camille Pissarro and Vincent van Gogh, several of whom were nurtured in their early days by Gertrude Stein, as imagined in another great more recent film, Midnight in Paris.
This is another Parisian photograph I made in 2005 that I haven’t shown publicly before, which illustrates the duality you often find in Montmartre. On one hand, wandering the same sidewalks that those influential artists walked years ago that have long been my artistic inspirations. On the other hand, arguing past the aggressive vendors at the bottom of the stairs leading down from the Sacré-Cœur Basilica.
Paris, and Montmartre in particular, can be many things.