The markets of Paris provide plenty of material for a photographer looking for bursts of colour and street shots The scenes in this selection are not out of the ordinary – but their snapshot quality reveals a remarkable eye for detail. Cornelius documents the preparations, goods and personalities at the marché aux puces (flea market) in Saint-Ouen, the marché aux fleurs (flower market) on the Ile de la Cité, the Halle aux Vins (wine market) on Quai St. Bernard and the artists on Place de Tertre, Montmartre. In side streets, he photographs scenes like a road sweeper being observed by a restaurant owner, a ticket seller daydreaming in her booth, a priest adjusting his black gown.
Cornelius sheds light on the imperfections and curiosities of city life around us. While we walk through it unperturbed every day, in these timeless photographs we suddenly notice the dark water footprints at the florist’s and watch an old furniture dealer polish a wooden wardrobe door at his market stand. While saleswomen are engrossed in the delicate task of rearranging their ladies’ fashion in the shop window, a policeman in uniform is clearly charming a group of ladies in the Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré. Two men are delivering a carcass of beef to the market, and a glazier heads down Rue Cardinale carrying glass panes on his back.