Thursday, April 23, 2015

Book Review and Giveaway: Bridges of Paris by Michael Saint James

Book Description:

Bridges of Paris is a large-format coffee-table book, with over 350 original color photographs, which casts new illumination on the City of Light. The 37 bridges over the Seine River emerge as beautiful, historic destinations rather than unnoticed thoroughfares. The book features stunning portraits of each bridge as well as intimate riverside moments. Once you’ve experienced this river tour, you will never see Paris the same way again.

Living as a Parisian for a year, author Michael Saint James left his American lifestyle and spent his days and nights capturing images from over, on, beside and under the bridges of Paris. With over 30 years experience as a photographer, educator and world traveler, Michael immersed himself in French culture to search out his authentic artist self. The result is a visual treasure to share with everyone.

My Review:

I'll admit that I am not a big traveler.  I like camping and southern Roadside Americana trips, but I have never traveled abroad.   However, I am a great armchair traveler, and truly enjoy books about adventurous travel.   These books are a special treat if they feature wonderful photographs. This is exactly that type of book. 

Bridges of Paris is a big, beautiful book.  As you open the book, the first picture you will see is a panoramic shot that stretches across two wide pages.  This gives the reader a glimpse of what is to come.

Michael Saint John is an American who spent a year in Paris photographing bridges and exploring the city.  He writes about his adventures through the travels across Parisian bridges in this book.

The sections of Bridges of Paris are divided into Island Bridges, Palace Bridges, Downstream Bridges, and Upstream Bridges.  There are stories about each bridge and many, many amazing photos.

The photography is breathtaking.  The bridges are photographed with people, as architecture (without people), in different weather, at different times of day.  The night shots are exceptional.

I also love Michael Saint John's writing.  For instance, he writes:  "As a storyteller, I love bridge metaphors:  a bridge too far, to nowhere, or over troubled water.  Not crossing a bridge until you come to it.  Never crossing the same bridge (or is it stepping into the same river?) twice.  Throughout the history of Paris, whenever a new bridge was built over the Seine, the lives of the people on both banks changed dramatically."

Many of the details of Paris are fascinating, like the love-locks where young people place a lock inscribed with their names on a bridge, and then throw the key into the river.  There is an amazing photo of the locks on the Pont De L'Archeveche bridge.

Anyone who loves France and French culture will appreciate this book.  It would be a great gift for an architect, a traveler, or a fan of beautiful photography.   I recommend it very highly -- you are certain to enjoy taking some time to enjoy the beauty of Paris.

Author's Bio:

Michael Saint James’ artistic pursuits include award-winning book design, film editing, and sound recording, as well as his first love, photography. Saint James is a world traveler, having visited more than 50 countries - doing everything from photographing penguins in Antarctica to trekking the Himalayas.

As an educator with California teaching credentials, he has taught media production and technology arts as well as photography, art history and visual storytelling. He is an expert speaker on Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. Indeed, he walked in Vincent Van Gogh’s footsteps through the Netherlands, Belgium, and France in order to immerse himself in that troubled master’s vision.

The father of two grown children, Saint James once owned a café in Berkeley, California. He has bicycled from Las Vegas to Washington, D.C. and is rumored to play a mean blues harmonica.

Connect with Michael: Website ~ Twitter ~ Pinterest

Book Trailer:
Where to buy the book:

Win one of 15 print copies of Bridges of Paris. (Open Internationally) Ends May 16

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received a copy of this book from iRead Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.  


amweeks said...

I have always wanted to visit France, and this would be the next best thing!

Julie's Lifestyle said...

Thanks for the book review and this sounds really good!