Co.Design

Is Paris Best Experienced Through The Lens Of A Camera?

It might seem trite at first, but Paris Through Pentax manages to show just how timeless some technology can be.

Paris Through Pentax is a short film by French filmmaking studio Maison Carnot that shows the bustle of Parisian streets—the trains rumbling through Gare du Nord, spring afternoons spent people watching over a croissant, and lovers skipping down the steps of Sacré Cœur—all through the viewfinder of a classic Pentax 67 SLR camera.

While filming daily life in Paris through the viewfinder of the Pentax 67 manages to hit all of the twee, meta, and overly-affected notes, I actually find this video very soothing. It's less of a video about Paris than it is a paean to the timelessness of great technology, and how different our impression of the world can be when we frame it in different contexts.

It's fair to say that the Pentax 67 is as close as technology gets to being timeless. In one form or another, the Pentax 67 has been sold for almost 45 years. It was first released as the Asahi Pentax 6x7 in 1969, and although it's seen a few design overhauls in the years since, the most recent update—Pentax 67 II—has been consistently sold since 1999. Since it takes 55mm x 70mm snapshots, an area four times larger than 35mm, the Pentax 67 system remains popular amongst photographers who want to take pictures that can be blown up to much bigger sizes while retaining their resolution and sharpness.

Another reason the Pentax 67 is so popular, though, is because of the dimensions of its 6x7 photographs, which afford a larger image area that feels natural and pleasing to the eye. And I feel like that's where Paris Through Pentax really becomes a love-letter to a camera. Because when you look down through that viewfinder at pigeons strutting their stuff at Notre Dame, or old men playing bocce at the Tuileries, you can really feel how a different film format, or a different style camera, can affect the way we see the world. Life is just too big to constantly be constrained to 35mm; it makes the world feel so far away.

More of Maison Carnot's film work can be seen here.

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2 Comments

  • Daniel Bullen

    Three of us went to Japan, one guy did everything through/with his tech. He never gained his bearings, never recognised where we were staying and has very few memories outside of what he filmed or took pics of.

    My conclusion from this experience is that doing everything through the lens or through tech is not the way to get the most from your travel experiences.