marc olivier’s ABC paris photo collection

by Grace Bonney

inspired by the idea that people can learn to read a city like a book, photographer marc olivier decided to focus on finding and photographing all of the letters of the alphabet in the art, architecture, food, and city life of paris. the project has been years in the making, but marc is now selling affordable versions of his photos on his blog staring at $10. what i love most are the multiple versions of each letter- that way if you want to collect a group to spell a friend’s name, etc you can choose a few different styles if the same letter occurs twice. if you’re as smitten with the collection as i am, you can buy a full collage print of all of the letters ($80) on archival paper as well. i’m thinking about doing a few of these as gifts for friends, but because of the affordable price they’d make perfect “just because” purchases as well. click here to check out the full collection and shop online. thanks, marc!

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  • WOW! these are so rich and creative- and many of them aren’t so obvious. If you hung some in a room, they would just look like gorgeous pictures… but as your guests look closer, they could find the letters. Very beautiful!

  • An intro design class had us do this project. We only had about 2 weeks and I only had a film camera which made it extra tricky. Some of these, while beautiful, wouldn’t have made the cut for my professor. But I don’t think any of my pictures was as lovely.

  • Love the series!

    Dr. Olivier was one of my French professors in college! The man is seriously multi-talented; in addtion to being an engaging professor and (obviously) a good photographer, he curated an awesome exhibit for the university art museum one year.

  • I am somewhat of an obsessive person when it comes to great photography, and I cannot wait to purchase this book. Plus, having visited Paris three times now, it will truly be something that I will treasure!

  • My co-worker (a designer) does this photography exercise in every city she visits. However, she only uses letters found in the landscape/architecture (i.e. the “G” and “S”) and not printed or pre-produced (i.e. the “F” on the fruit label or the “E” type block). It completely changes how you see your environment. Mr. Olivier’s photos are quite beautiful, thanks for sharing.