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Paris – The Louvre to the Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France at sunset

By Will Austin

Will Austin’s award-winning photography has taken him around the world. Although he regularly does editorial work, Will specializes in documenting cutting-edge architecture and industrial workplaces. He lives in the Seattle area with his wife and son, but hails from Colorado cowboy country.

April 13, 2011

I wasn’t really prepared for the immensity of the Musée du Louvre, both in its physical size and its collection.  I think it would take several days to see all of the exhibits.  The light wasn’t really great outside but I did take a few shots inside.  I was very surprised to find people taking photos of everything in there, though I was frustrated that they didn’t have the courtesy to turn off their flashes.  I was continually blown away by the artwork.  We saw the Venus de Milo and Winged Victory sculptures, The Mona Lisa and paintings by Rembrandt and Raphael!  I was a little overwhelmed in some of the painting galleries and sometimes moved to tears by the beautiful works.  One thing I loved to see was all of the French school children studying the artwork, they get to go to the Louvre on field trips, incredible!!!   They were in groups with their instructors and were making notes and sketches as they learned about particular paintings/sculptures, etc.

We were also fortunate to see a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arc de Triomphe.  There were many veterans in fancy uniforms and even a representative of the USA, you’ll notice the American Flag in the photos.  As always, the Parisians were very friendly and allowed me to take photos unabated.

I want to highlight this amazing painting “Liberty Leading the People” by Eugène Delacroix.  It commemorates the July Revolution in 1830 and is the inspiration for the Statue of Liberty.  Liberty is personified by a barefoot and bare-breasted goddess figure who stands atop a pile of the fallen while holding the French flag in one hand and a musket in the other.  There is so much I love about this painting, even beyond the symbolism and meaning.  The use of color, the sky and smoke creating wonderful vignetting, the framing, the powerful asymmetric composition and the dramatic lighting.  I try to learn from these masters to help me better understand photography.  When my son saw this photo he said “Hey dad, that is the picture on the Coldplay CD.”  Yes it is.

This is a large post, thanks for bearing with me!

Liberty Leading the People in the Louvre Museum

Notice the schoolchildren in the green hats –

The Louvre Museum in Paris, France

The Louvre Museum in Paris, France

The Louvre Museum in Paris, France

The Louvre Museum in Paris, France

The Louvre Museum, pyramid detail, Paris, France

Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France

Veteran's ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France

Eternal flame at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France

Veteran at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France

Soldier with the American Flag at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France

The American Flag at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France

This was taken well after sunset.  I had given up on taking photos as the weather was very cloudy and darkness was settling in.  But then the sky opened in the distance behind the Arch and I ran to the center of the Champs-Élysées boulevard and made several long exposures.  You can see the people on top of the arch and a building from La Défense (next blog post) in the background –

The Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France at sunset

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  1. Mariette Poirier

    I continue discovering more photos of your trip to Paris. I can tell how much you enjoyed visiting the Louvres.
    Wishing someone will buy some of your pictures to be published in some magasines.

  2. Will

    Thanks Mariette! Maybe the magazines will notice 😉

  3. Cary

    Stunning as always, Will. I eagerly await each new post of Paris pictures this week. Brings back fond memories. You really knocked it out of the park on that night shot of Arc de Triomphe — gorgeous.

  4. Will

    Thanks Cary! Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower to follow, the Paris hits never stop….

  5. Santiago Lucas

    1st shot is “Liberty Leading the People” by Eugène Delacroix. Was cover of Coldplay’s album “Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends” h my favourite band!