After arriving in Paris this morning the art director, Matt and I headed out to see the town a little since we don’t start shooting until tomorrow. We are staying a block from the Louvre and since almost everything else was closed for Easter and it is his first time in Paris it was the obvious choice. I have been to the Louvre several times over the years and it’s always a little bit mind blowing. The scale of the place with an impossible number of rooms stretching out in every direction all filled with incredible, priceless one of a kind treasures never ceases to amaze me. This time was no different and the holiday weekend with everything else in town closed, really had the place packed. We only had a little bit of time so we went for the greatest hits, The Venus de Milo, The Winged Victory, Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People and of course the headliner, The Mona Lisa. There is a pathway marked to her with little replicas and arrows starting back at the main entrance. The scene in front of the painting is really that of a red carpet or other big celebrity event with about 300 people all wielding cameras and cell phones trying to get a clear shot of the star from behind a rope with security looking on. And a big star she is. It really struck me this time that it’s not the painting they are coming to see or the smile or the technique or the secret identity of who she might be, but it just seems to be about the celebrity of it. The fact that it has become a super famous thing that everyone knows and now those people are standing in it’s presence. No one seemed to really look at it, partly because you can’t get very close and also because the view generally looks like the shot above. So most people seemed to try to get the best shot they could of it and then would wander off. Kind of like the pictures they were taking were the equivalent of an autograph. To prove they were in her presence once. It can’t be about wanting to take a likeness of the picture home. I can’t imagine them going home and looking at the pictures they took to see what she looks like. It’s the most widely copied printed and distributed piece of art of all time probably, which you can buy on magnets, stationary, pens, watches, etc. in the gift shop – all much better quality versions than anything you can shoot with an iPhone. So why are they taking the pictures? I guess it’s like having Brad Pitt on display behind glass everyday for public viewing with unlimited merchandizing opportunities and no chance of a Tiger style fall from grace. The Louvre certainly has their A-lister and she might be the perfect celebrity.