Metro Portraits

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About the author:
Ronald W. Kenyon was born and raised in Ashland, Kentucky. He was admitted to the Honors Program at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he studied English, Spanish and political science and won two Hopwood creative writing awards. The recipient of a Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship, he attended graduate school at Stanford University and studied at St. Lawrence University under a National Defense Education Act scholarship. He was certified as a French-English liaison interpreter by the U.S. Department of State Office of Language Services.

Ronald W. Kenyon has been taking photographs since childhood, using many cameras and photographic systems, including the elegant Olympus Pen-F half-frame single-lens reflex; the Leica IIIg and M-3, the Nikon-FE and the Rolleiflex 3.5 F twin-lens reflex. His last film camera was a Konika Revio Z2 using APS cartridges, the final attempt to produce a user-friendly film camera. He began digital photography using the built-in camera in the Palm Zire 71 personal digital assistant that was used to take the photographs in Metro Portraits and its companion volume, Metro Messages. Since then, he has used a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W40, and, most recently, the camera in the Apple iPhone.

Ronald W. Kenyon participated in a three-person show at the Galerie Noir-et-Blanc in Paris in November 1976, the 5th Salon d'Art Photographique in Rambouillet, France in 1977, and the Exposition "Camera" in Versailles, France, in January 1978. His photography was awarded the Grand Prix by the Société Artistique of Fontenay-le-Fleury, France, in 1977.

From 1979 through 1992 Ronald W. Kenyon's photographs were utilized for book and albums covers, calendar illustrations and post cards. In January 1980 Ronald W. Kenyon was chief photographer for a project to document traditional architecture in Asir Province, Saudi Arabia. Sixty-five of his photographs were exhibited at the 1st International Symposium on Islamic Architecture and Urbanism at King Faisal University in Dammam.

Also by Ronald W. Kenyon:

Divagations: Collected Poetry 1959-1996
A Winter in the Middle of Two Seas: Real Stories from Bahrain
Monville: Forgotten Luminary of the French Enlightenment
Monville: l'inconnu des Lumières
Le Petit Kenyon: Dining in the Environs of Paris for Walkers
Statues of Liberty: Real Stories from France
On the Trail in France


Metro Messages
My Beautiful France: Landscapes
Île-de-France, terres d'inspiration

Metro Portraits

Photographs 2003-2007

Authored by Ronald W. Kenyon

The forty-three found portraits in this collection are pictures of pictures, taken in the Paris Metro between September 24, 2003, and June 1, 2007, using the built-in camera in a Palm Zire 71 personal digital assistant (PDA).

Some of the persons in the portraits are recognizable; among them are celebrities living and dead, some named and some nameless. Basketball player Tony Parker’s portrait appears as well as that of Marilyn Monroe. Three French film stars, Lætitia Casta, Sophie Marceau and Monica Bellucci, share a triptych. Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s wife and model Aline Charigot, Alphonsine Fournaise, the actress Angèle and the Impressionist painter Gustave Caillebotte populate a four-panel polyptych. The Chevalier de Saint George, an 18th century composer and equestrian, appears, as well as the Lady of the Unicorn from the medieval tapestry. Portraits of Agnès Sorel, mistress of French King Charles VII, and Madame Tallien, la plus grande putain de Paris, grace these pages. Superman’s here too, appearing as Brandon Routh, and so is the late Jean Gabin. Everyone is free to guess who’s who.

The photographer comments, "What is intriguing about Metro Portraits is that I don't know who a lot of the people are, but from time to time I identify somebody. So I am a participant in the game as much as my readers are. I also like the idea that they are pictures of pictures--art imitating art. Or, rather, the photographer deconstructing advertising posters whose purpose is to convince people to spend money and reconstructing them into art whose purpose is only beauty."

Finally, I like the idea that the posters in the Metro were ephemeral, since they are stripped down and destroyed after only a couple of weeks. So I may be the only person who ever the portraits that appear in this book.

Publication Date:
1478253509 / 9781478253501
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
8.25" x 6"
Full Color with Bleed
Related Categories:
Photography / Subjects & Themes / Portraits

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