Photography Series Showcases University Architecture Once School’s Out

“Since an early age I have always reflexively thought of a place in terms of images, and angles, and the way in which it is depicted,” professional photographer Ludwig Favre tells us. Paris, the home of exquisite urban architecture, leafy boulevards, and a rich history shot from countless such angles, might seem the perfect match for a photographer like Ludwig. It’s also the place he calls home, and in this new series La Sorbonne, Paris he pays homage to the city’s renowned university – after hours.


But how to get into the empty university, without a student card or visiting professorship? “I made several demands, and I met a charming person who understood the object of my request and the sense behind my work,” Ludwig explains. Woe betide anyone who gets in between an artist and their muse.

Ludwig’s childhood inclination towards angles and composition blossomed into a passion for photography when his father introduced him to darkrooms and chemical baths at an early age. His work in the history of art, and multimedia and audiovisual fields, developed his keen eye for aesthetics, and lets him “capture moments of life.”


The haunting grandeur of the empty Sorbonne is a selection of moments we’re glad he caught; the University, it seems, continue to enlighten even when it isn’t teaching.

THE PLUS: What were you thinking when you were walking around the empty space?
Ludwig Favre:
We feel  the history in these empty places. We embellish the eminent professors who have followed one another for years with our own imagination. These places are a marker of our culture, and of our knowledge.


TP: Were there any unexpected challenges in capturing the auditoriums?
Yes, because most of the rooms have wooden elements, and this wood is well worn, so it took some work to create the compositions with very straight lines. Also, there was a movie being shot which I had to work around.


TP: What other buildings would you like to photography after hours?
The Bibliothèque Nationale de France of Paris, which has been renovated; more specifically, the Labrouste reading room.


TP: You mention that you specialise in American landscapes and cities – what made you turn to Paris, in this case?
I live in Paris, and I love this city profoundly. Following the Paris attacks I wished to contribute in my own small way, encouraging tourists to once more want to visit all these magnificent places which make up Paris.

TP: You’ve done a lot of travel photography, too; what is your top tip for capturing a place’s essence?
It’s necessary to submerge yourself in a place before being able to photograph it. So, arrive very early before the first rays of sunshine, and wait to seize the magic moment.