Bridges of Paris is a large-format coffee-table book, with over 350 original color photographs, which casts new illumination on the City of Light. The 37 bridges over the Seine River emerge as beautiful, historic destinations rather than unnoticed thoroughfares. The book features stunning portraits of each bridge as well as intimate riverside moments. Once you’ve experienced this river tour, you will never see Paris the same way again.
Living as a Parisian for a year, author Michael Saint James left his American lifestyle and spent his days and nights capturing images from over, on, beside and under the bridges of Paris. With over 30 years experience as a photographer, educator and world traveler, Michael immersed himself in French culture to search out his authentic artist self. The result is a visual treasure to share with everyone.
I received a free copy of this book for an honest review.
Bridges of Paris is a beautiful coffee table book that is a tribute to the bridges in Paris. I had no idea there are so many and that they’re all so different!
I could tell that the author put his heart into this book. Not only are there gorgeous photos of the bridges and the scenery around them, including pedestrians, but at the beginning he explains how this book came about and there is a history of bridges in Paris.
Along with the photos of each bridge and its surroundings is a short description and history of the bridge. There is also a small map of Paris for each bridge showing exactly where it is. This would be a great resource when traveling to Paris, although I think I’d make copies to bring since it is a heavy book.
Not only is this a good book for history or travel buffs but anyone will enjoy the beautiful photos.
“Why create a book about the bridges of Paris?”
Like most professional photographers I always dreamed of making my own coffee-table book. After visiting Paris a few times, I fell in love with this magnificent city and the Seine River and was inspired to shoot some very dynamic pictures of the river. But a book needs a story and it took a while for me to identify a theme. Obvious books had already been done: Gardens of Paris, Architecture of Paris and even three books on the Cats of Paris. When I suggested the Bridges of Paris to my friends, many were surprised there had never been a book about the bridges. That’s when I knew I had a fresh story to tell.
“Where did you live while staying in Paris?”
I stayed mostly in a tiny student apartment in the 5th arrondissment (district). It’s known as the Latin Quarter because of all the schools in the area, including the Sorbonne University. Many were established in the 17th and 18th centuries when the common language for academia was Latin. The neighborhood was inspirational to me because Ernest Hemingway’s old place is around the corner and the opening chapters of Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast took place right there. Today the streets are filled with students hungry for knowledge and experience. The Seine River and Notre Dame are a five minutes walk away and the Pantheon just up the street.
“Have you traveled to other foreign countries?”
When we were in our twenties, my wife and I quit our jobs, sold all our belongings and globetrotted for two years. We started in Japan, then Taiwan, Philippines, Hong Kong, Thailand, Burma and Nepal where we ran out of money. So we went back to Japan and taught conversational English. When we saved enough we banged around through Europe until we were saturated with foreign cultures and came home to California.
“How do you deal with ‘writer’s block’?”
What finally worked for me was to put a clock on my desk with the words “Father Time is Watching.” The clock reminded me that every hour I wasted was an hour I would never get back. I’m in my late 50’s. My time on this earth is running out and my book needs to get done. Because, one day not so far off, I will be gone.
Michael Saint James’ artistic pursuits include award-winning book design, film editing, and sound recording, as well as his first love, photography. Saint James is a world traveler, having visited more than 50 countries – doing everything from photographing penguins in Antarctica to trekking the Himalayas.
As an educator with California teaching credentials, he has taught media production and technology arts as well as photography, art history and visual storytelling. He is an expert speaker on Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. Indeed, he walked in Vincent Van Gogh’s footsteps through the Netherlands, Belgium, and France in order to immerse himself in that troubled master’s vision.
The father of two grown children, Saint James once owned a café in Berkeley, California. He has bicycled from Las Vegas to Washington, D.C. and is rumored to play a mean blues harmonica.