My first experience of the Eiffel was back in 1998, when I backpacked around western Europe just after having graduated from college and it left me absolutely overwhelmed. For someone who came from India, I felt I wasn’t going to be so easily overwhelmed by most things in Europe, especially architecture. And even though I stayed in Paris for just two days and missed seeing most of it, the Eiffel firmly found a place in my imagination for a long time. Well known about the Eiffel, apart from being Paris’ and sometimes France’s symbol is that, it was vehemently disliked by most Parisiens when first built. The Nazis even used it as a radio tower during their World War II occupation. And it has somehow even become a custom, all be it cliched, for every man who visits the top of the tower along with his lady love to want to propose marriage there. Besides all of this, one can’t seem to miss the Eiffel from most balconies or rooftops in Paris or anywhere else for that matter, most times being like the north on a traveller’s compass.

Hence, when I did get a chance to go back to Paris in September of 2007 after nine long years, I certainly wanted to go back and see this old friend. Since the first time I photographed it, I got so little time to do so, I decided this time I was going to be more anaylitical and for the lack of a better word more surgical. Only so that I could break up my favorite structure in Paris into its most interesting sections. I had seen some of the famous Parisien architechture the last time and although I could appreciate the grandeur of most of it, the Eiffel was more my thing. Being an abstractionist at heart, one whose work has serious graphic influences and someone who is fascinated by form and scale, this was it. I had also later on planned to interpret some images I had shot into my visual signature style of mirrored montages and composite images put together as one work, except this time around I intended to introduce a select palette of colour into them. In my treatment, I have consciously disected and down scaled the Eiffel into very detail rich, graphic and intimate images, while still maintaining it’s iconic stature. What one shall see as the final series called ‘Eiffel O’Seven’ is a result of just that.

Shibu Arakkal.

Monsoon | Twenty O’Nine

Shibu ArakkalEiffel O’Seven – Artist’s Note