April 25, 2009

Andre Zucca

Paris in 1942...

These pictures shown below were shot by André Zucca, a Frenchman hired by the German magazine Signal to capture scenes of Paris flourishing under Nazi rule. Zucca's bosses' gave him extremely rare and valuable rolls of Agfacolor film to shoot his busy shoppers, café-lounging lovers, parks filled with parents and playing children, and ultra-chic Parisiennes sporting the last word in fashionably enormous eye wear.

Despite the photographs' propagandistic intent, curators note that their esthetic quality — not to mention their rarity as color prints from that period — make the case for their display. Indeed, even Girard noted that "had it been clearly explained to the public that these were propaganda photos on display, the exhibit could have been very interesting." While most photos clearly present an idealized and flattering picture of occupied Paris, other shots featuring Nazi flags, German installations, and huge numbers of uniformed soldiers mingling on familiar Parisian streets leave little doubt as to the actual context.

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