Jody Magrady

One week in Paris
silver gelatin print

I spent two weeks in and around Paris in the fall of 2000. Midway through the first week, on a Wednesday, a suggestive color ad for Opium perfume popped up on all the backlit advertising signs scattered throughout Paris and the surrounding towns. The ad intrigued me and my traveling companions, mainly because we didn’t believe it would pass in the U.S. So, whenever I had my camera with me, no matter what other series I was photographing, I made photographs involving this ad. We made a game of actively searching for the ad, running across streets, venturing down alleys, looking outside of bus windows, peering beyond museum and shop displays. It was everywhere, often accompanied by either positive or negative graffiti. Even the village of Orleans, home of Joan of Arc, was plastered with the ad (what would Joan have thought?). However, the following Wednesday, to our utter disappointment, we awakened to discover the ad had disappeared completely sometime in the wee hours. It had been replaced by an utterly dull Chanel ad. So, I returned to photographing statuary, cemeteries, and other street scenes. When I returned to the states, I read on the internet about the continuing controversy and objections to the ad. I was in the right place at the right sliver of time, making photographs that can’t be repeated.

© Jody Magrady