The stone arches of Pont Neuf span the river Seine either side of the boat-shaped Île de la Cité. Trees crown the prow of the island and line both banks of the river. Beyond the bridge the distinctive towers and spires of Tour St Jaques, the Hôtel de Ville, the Conciergerie and Sainte-Chapelle stand out clearly on the skyline.
Artist Gustave Cariot, son of a Marais luggage maker, grew up a short walk from Pont Neuf As he developed his artistic style, exploring impressionist and pointillist techniques, Cariot painted this view from Pont des Arts in all seasons and weathers.
The human eye and the artist’s brush can pick out the points of interest in the scene. The camera registers everything to scale, trees, landmarks and the unremarkable buildings in between. The view makes a great subject for a painting but a disappointing photo. The eye-catching details are just too small compared with the long sweep of the bridge.
In this autumn picture, Cariot picked out just a few of the distinctive buildings beyond the bridge. The patterns of light on the water, foliage on the trees and smoke in the sky are equally important. Although this mid river view must have been painted from Pont des Art there is no hint of the bridge in the foreground.
In a photo this view needs a foreground. In keeping with Cariot’s wide landscape views I avoided adding lampposts or posing tourists. Instead I framed the view in one of the bridge panels, where startlingly clear polycarbonate sheet now replaces the mesh and the padlocks that were threatening the structure of the bridge. A new view of Pont Neuf.
Inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge Life Imitates Art