Belle Epoque: Beauty and Mystery

Belle Epoque photo series . Door stonework detail from a 1906 building . Architect: Victor Beltri

Belle Epoque photo series . Door stonework detail from a 1906 building . Architect: Victor Beltri

Belle Epoque is the name of an ongoing photo series I started in 2015.

This project has brought me so far to photograph houses, apartments and even museums in Paris (France), in Cartagena and Murcia (Spain) and La Habana (Cuba).

When I started with the series, it was not really clear to me how I would express the emotions I feel about Art Nouveau and eclectic styles in pictures. The more I got access to places, the more I realised I was actually attracted to the details.

Being in these buildings was like going back in time.

“The premises of Art Nouveau, also considered as a new form of romanticism, were the search of beauty and of a certain spirituality. (…) Art Nouveau poets and painters evoked remote worlds, fairytales, velvety sceneries where everything happens in a musical atmosphere and where nature is immersed in mystery. Art Nouveau is the territory of the line, the curve and the straight line. A calligraphic sense inherited from Japonism that shrouds with lines, pieces of furniture and buildings” (1)

And this is exactly what I was looking for when taking a closer look at the intricate designs of staircases, doors, windows, etc. I was trying to recreate beauty and mystery, and to reach a certain abstraction of the curves and lines.

In Cuba, I had the opportunity to stay in a colonial house built in 1895 by a Spaniard who migrated to La Habana.  And in Paris, I was given access to photograph the Art Nouveau museum of designer Pierre Cardin, which is open to the public in Rue Royale, and housed in Maxim’s building. 

Limited editions of the pictures of the series are now on sale here.


(1) Extract from the book “Cartagena 1874-1936 (Transformación urbana y arquitectura)” by F. Javier Pérez Rojas . 1986