Photo: michellebres / Instagram
Prior to being the creative director of Kenzo Parfums in 2000, Patrick Guedj always had a strong interest in photography and writing. Many of his photographed works can be seen in exhibitions and three of his novels have been published. As the creative director has lived in Paris for his entire life, he shares the most beautiful scenic views you can catch in Paris and his love for the arts and food scene.
Daido Moriyama. He is a real street photographer who always brings his own interpretation of what ‘street’ is. I like the fact that his work is very violent, strong, but poetic and surprising all at the same time. It’s very moving and also very recognisable.
I also like Bill Brandt, a photographer from the 1930s. He taught me the strength of good framing and how you can create very strong image just by positioning things in a very graphic way. I also learnt how precise and rigorous you have to be in the way you frame a picture in order for it to be emotional.
Last photography book I bought…
It’s called Black Trilogy by Ralph Gibson, an old American photographer I’ve admired for a very long time. It was just launched at the start of the year.
Best unusual spots in Paris for a selfie or wefie….
The Passage Brady. It’s actually a very small passage but very beautiful. You don’t feel like you’re in Paris, you feel like you’re in India, that’s why I like it. There are a lot of Indian shops and the atmosphere there is incredible.
The last movie I watched was….
A 1958 film called Fleur D’Equinoxe [Equinox Flower] by the Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu. I’m obsessed with this director, I’ve gone through 12 of his films already.
Best place for a traditional French meal in Paris is….
Chartier in the 9th arrondissement. It’s very old, very huge and very French. It’s cheap as well. You’ll find lots of traditional French fare. What makes them stand out is that they don’t try to be fancy or creative. They just do the same thing they’ve been doing for 50 years. Their success comes from being affordable and big. Order the fries, they’re really good.
Best book I’ve read so far….
Cercle [Circle] by the French author Yannick Haenel. I like it very much because the way it’s written is extremely original and strong. It’s about a guy who goes on a long trip around the world and what goes on in his head. I love the poetic way it was written – I’m very sensitive to the way people write as well as the story itself. It doesn’t have to be a very exciting story.
Choice of alcohol….
Vodka, especially Absolut Peppar Vodka. It’s hard to find, probably only at the more upmarket bars. It’s a bit spicy and pretty strong.
What I have on my music playlist now….
So many things. I have French singers, classical music, American music. It’s extremely eclectic. But some of my long-time favourite singers whom I’ve liked since young are Coco Rosie, Elysian Fields and Jacques Higelin – beautiful music, very emotional. I like it when there’s a little bit of sadness in music. I think the most moving music are those where you find a hint of sadness. Sad music doesn’t make me feel bad, it makes me feel happy because of the depth and emotions.
The book I’m reading now is….
Microfictions by Regis Jauffret. I tend to read more French books because I like the language and I want to read what the author wrote instead of a translation. It’s an amazing book with 1,000 very short stories, each one of them only a page and a half long. This author’s writing is really dark but funny at the same time, and it’s all done within that one and a half pages so you enter the story very quickly. It’s based in very sarcastic and sharp humour – very mean but very funny.
The most underrated places in Paris are….
A particular section of the Metro’s Line 2. It’s mostly underground but there’s a little part that’s above ground which is just amazing when you’re travelling on it. This is one of the lesser-used lines so it’s not very crowded. If you take it in the middle of the afternoon when it’s sunny and there aren’t many people, you get a great view of central Paris. You can see Montmarte and lots of trees all around. Being on the train, you get this sensation of moving through the city.
There’s also this parking lot on top of a building along Rue Victor Masse in the 9th arrondissment which has the most beautiful view of Paris. I shot one of the older FlowerByKenzo campaign films – the one with Lika Minamoto – there, so the views you see in the film are from this parking lot. It’s high enough, about eight or nine storeys, but it’s not too high. Because when you’re too high up the views aren’t that good actually. This is perfect.