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Uses for a mobile phone

Thursday 16 September 2010

In my little box of 19th century prints is a steel engraving of a drawing by Thomas Allom of the interior of the Panthéon in Paris. It’s not especially rare or valuable, but I like it for the quality of the print and the connection with my former archi­tec­tural partner Richard Allom (distantly related to Thomas).

I wanted to ‘re-photograph’ the scene that Thomas Allom drew, so I needed a copy for reference. A google search turned up a print-dealer’s online catalog with an image of the Panthéon print, which I copied to my phone. With this in my hand, I found the right spot to stand. I can vouch for the general accuracy of the drawing, with a proviso. I think it is based on a properly set-up perspective drawing, but using a point of view outside the building​—​impossible, in other words, because this view is blocked by the front wall of the building.

With my widest lens (Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L on EOS 5D), and with my back against the wall, I could not get all the parts of the ceiling that Allom showed into the picture. Not, that is, unless I tipped the camera up and caused the columns to topple, and that would never do.

On the left, the Allom engraving displayed on the screen of my phone. On the right, my picture of the same scene

Since some time back in the nineteen-eighties, as a member of Australia ICOMOS, I have received each year a plastic card from the ICOMOS secretariat in Paris. Now, for the first time, I am using the card. In France, ICOMOS members enjoy free ad­mis­sion to various historic sites. Of direct relevance to me this week, I flashed the card at the Panthéon (save €8), the Palace of Ver­sailles (save €25), the Musee d’Orsay (save €8), the Institut du Monde Arabe (save €12)​—​a total saving of €53 (say A$73) over a few days, better than a poke in the eye.

My ICOMOS membership card, seen inside the Pantheon.

filed under Architecture + Me + Prints + Tools

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