Charles Marville and the Landscapes of the Carrières d’Amérique

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Charles Marville’s photographs of Paris preserve the look of streets slated for demolition under Georges-Eugène Haussmann. This article examines his photographs of the Carrières d’Amérique, or America Quarries–gypsum quarries in the outlying Parisian neighbourhood of Belleville. At a time when the rezoning of districts that were formerly extra muros was still controversial, Belleville was seen as a crime-ridden area. Marville’s photographs become documents that refute contemporary narratives of criminality. Borrowing Walter Benjamin’s view that the city ‘opens up’ to the flâneur ‘as a landscape’, the article analyses Marville’s landscapes of the Carrières d’Amérique as images that juxtapose the city, the work site, and the no-man’s land or terrains vagues at Paris’s outer limits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-265
Number of pages15
JournalHistory of Photography
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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