Photo Project / Projet photos


The goal is for you to choose a common cultural notion or concept - or a common specific aspect of your daily life - to illustrate or compare. Please use this forum to share ideas and suggestions with your transatlantic partners about what you might want to illustrate. Several small groups of MIT and ENSAM students will thus be formed around common topics of interest.  

Le but est de choisir en commun une notion ou un concept culturel - ou un aspect spécifique de votre vie quotidienne - à illustrer et comparer. Veuillez utiliser ce forum pour échanger avec vos partenaires transatlantiques vos idées et suggestions quant à des sujets possibles à illustrer. Vous formerez ainsi plusieurs petits groupes d'étudiants (de l'ENSAM et du MIT) autour de sujets qui vous intéressent.

Hello to everyone in L'ENSAM! How are you all doing? Hope you had a good time on the ski trip, and this whole business with Iceland and the SNCF on strike didn't make getting back to Lille too annoying. Also hope coming back to school wasn't too much of a downer, though summer is around the corner so it's probably not too bad. 

So, for suggested topics, I'm thinking about stuff you guys might be interested in from our society. These are nightlife and vacations, of course! Stephane and Eric got to experience some cool parties here, and I'm sure they've told you about how we crazy MIT students like to spend our time (other than studying). Still, maybe (probably) there's some things they missed, and you guys might be interested to see more of the city nightlife and whatnot. Then, we always hear about how much the French love their vacations, but trust me, we Americans do too! I think it'd be cool to show you the weekend getaways to New York, Philadelphia, or Montreal that some MIT students take, and maybe the more exotic locations they may go to during Winter and Spring break. 

Also, speaking of vacations, it'll probably be cool to talk about holiday traditions. For example, the way we celebrate Christmas and other Holidays, which normally consists of more than just thoughtless mass-consumerism contrary to what you might expect, is probably different. Plus, you may have never heard of our holidays, like Thanksgiving, so it might be cool to talk about that.

Anyway, I'd be cool with doing any of these topics. Hope you guys come up with some cool topics too! Miss ya!

Hi everyone!

I think it could be fun to compare music in France and America. I've heard a little about what kind of music ENSAM students like to listen to (and dance to). As a member of the symphony orchestra at MIT, I'd also like to look at the role classical music plays in society and in schools.

I'm also interested in the differences in school systems in France and America. We've discussed ENSAM a lot and other higher learning options. I'd like to know more about primary and secondary schools too. In America we have public schools, parochial schools, montessori schools...I went to a Friends school a while, which focuses on teaching Quaker values. I think it might be interesting to compare the core values of French and American schools- what do schools focus on? what values do they teach their students to produce better members of society?

And Yotam, I think your holiday idea is cool. 



Pour l'activité des publicités je propose une publicité réalisée par des élèves de l'ENSAM  pour la marque DIM (Underwear).Qu'est ce que vous en pensez?


Le thème auquel j'ai pensé pour les publicités est : la presse. Par exemple les publicités pour "Le Parisien", un quotidien français.


Comment allez vous depuis notre passage? Je rebondis sur le thème de YOTAM : les vacances ! On avait pensé à un truc qui rejoint ça : Les pubs de loto en France (qui parlent souvent de vacances, de pas travailler etc )...

Sinon, autre produit typiquement Francais : le parfum (coté luxe, drague )

LAUREN : tes thèmes vont ils vraiment avec le travail de recherche de photos? cette discussion peut être interessante mais difficile a appuyer sur des publicités non?


Salut !

Il pourrait être intéressant de comparer les campagnes anti-tabac, qui, en France, sont plutôt marquantes/choquantes/persuasives.

I think it could be interesting to share photos of our meals - I think it could probably bring to light some differences that we wouldn't even think about. Also, the environment that we take our meals in - sitting down at a restaurant, eating on the go, eating in front of the student center, etc.

Since I am a sports fanatic, and I played basketball in college, and I coached for a year with the MIT basketball team, I am going with the general topic of sports in America (or just at MIT).  Now who's coming with me?  Come on... you know you want to.

Eric, Stephane, you guys could compare your experience at the Celtics game with sports in France. 


I know, sounds like a lot of fun....

I agree with Baris... I think it would be interesting to compare sports in our two countries, in general or specifically at school.

I think food is a good topic. The student dining might be very different between MIT and ENSAM. Many students buy food from food trucks every noon. There are also many students who cook their food. And MIT has so many free food occasions. That should be fun to show.

I personally would love to compare and contrast choreography and dance in France and America. I am a dancer, and would like to understand the dance styles and techniques that are present in France.

Yotam - I really like your vacation idea as well.

Lauren - I really like the idea of contrasting education systems, and the core values that support it. I think that I would connect well with it, as I have personally studied in several different education systems ranging from private to public to boarding school between the United States and India.

I think we should all take photos of 5 objects that we would each want to take on a spaceship, if we were leaving Earth and never returning back home again.

Then, we should take photos of 3 emotions (or objects that evoke those emotions) that we won't want to forget when we board our spaceship.




Bonjour à tous,


avec Eric Garat et Stéphane Gigot, nous pensions aux différentes campagnes de sensibilisation à la sécurité routière, au travers d'affiches chocs et de courtes vidéos. Ce sujet est, en France, largement évoqué à la télévision et dans la rue.

bonjour à tous,

J'ai pensé au thème des appareils photos ou des ordinateurs car j'ai remarqué que certaines sont plutôt droles

Bonjour à tous,

je propose de travailer sur les campagne de pub sur la lutte contre le Sida.

Salut tout le monde,


A propos des publicités, je vous propose les pubs de bière !

"The goal is for you to choose a common cultural notion or concept - or a common specific aspect of your daily life - to illustrate or compare."


Every 12 hours (or some other constant interval), take a picture. It could include yourself or not, just whatever you like of your immediate surroundings. Over the course of a week, that would give an indication of "your daily life."

Overlay on that image comments about specific features that are always there or one-time occurences that highlight differences that week.

After the week, assemble the images and in your group, notice the differences and similarities. Generalize.

I like the idea of food!

Another idea is maybe on the differences in architecture and community. That is, the differences in building design between MIT and ENSAM as well as between Boston/Cambridge and Lille. And for the community part: how much locomotion is there in the city, do people move about mainly by car or by walking, etc?

Hi everyone! I hope everyone is doing well....

I like the food idea, how we eat, where we eat...etc bc I feel like it would be fun to take pictures and videos of.  It also shows a lot about one's culture.

I also think comparing advertisement would be interesting, like what is appropriate for US and French ads might be completely different...

Another thing that I think would be kind of fun is to pick different scenerios from the forum and actually attempt to reinact them and tape them to see how Americans and French people really react in the situation. (disclaimer: I don't know how ethical it is to tape people without them knowing but I guess its only for our class project)

For example: If people have the guts to stage a slap in a supermarket another person could tape how people react after seeing this.

We could co,pare celebrities... There's loads of information on celebrities online, and it could be fun to compare how they dress, talk, party, e.t.c

1. Can compare the in-dorm night life on weekdays in the places where people live. e.g. see how people socialize or study when they are on-campus, in their dorm.Compare the way to study together, the way to have fun, things that they wear when they are at home.

For that one, it would not be hard to find and take pictures, can just be on hall/floor outside of your room and see what people are doing. 


2. Slightly harder one - compare the use of public spaces. Not only at MIT, but in Boston as well. How do people relate to spaces they occupy? How do they sit? Where? How public places are overall different in France? What uses they find for public environments/object that might be different from the intended use of that environment/object?

As examples, people here often sit on the floor, there are always students on the corner piedistals of lobby 7. Students fall asleep in random places. They eat in random places. Remember the amphitheater of Stata, it has a character. There is a place on fourth floor of bld 10 where grad students go to have private phonecalls or cry. 

It's somewhat more difficult because it's hard to notice something that you are very used to, but I think this topic would be very interesting to study.

I realize my ideas would be more difficult to find pictures for than some of the other ideas that have been posted since mine. I would be interested in comparing publicity for newspapers, perfume, or anything. Maybe shoes? I have seen some ridiculous ads for sneakers/tennis shoes. 

I like that idea.. or to generalize that a bit - how about comparing advertisements/marketing schemes that we come across in newspapers? 




Cinjon - I also really like your idea to take a picture at a constant interval to describe our daily life and then to compare and generalize. 

Similar to Cinjon's idea, I think it would be interesting if everyone takes a picture at specific time. For example, midnight or 6 PM.


I also like the food idea.

I was also thinking about having some kind of "a-day-in-life" photos about all the main things we do in a regular day at MIT and l'ENSAM. 

I love Lauren's food idea!  Personally, I eat a wide range, from a quick snack in the student center to elaborate meals I cook for myself (and my boyfriend :D).  I think it would simple to do, as well, as Prof Levet suggested in her email, but could really bring out a lot of differences, such as what we drink with our meal, how big the portions are, common ingredients, etc.

I am personally a fan of comparing architecture in the areas of ENSAM and MIT and how they have related to cultural development.

I would also be interested in taking pictures or video of daily (perhaps sports included) activities.

Another possible topic that might be a bit more difficult is cataloguing and comparing communication habits including transportation as per Jose's suggestsion (i.e. American students' dependence on facebook, phones, cars vs. French students').

A note for American students interested in social and/or music topics, this upcoming week is Jazz week in Boston held in the Berklee and surrounding area.

I agree with Baris but instead of comparing sports in general, we could compare specific team sports in both schools. eg. soccer in MIT to soccer in L'ENSAM and so on...

Thibault et Pierre sont d'accord pour baser l'echange sur les publicités pour des parfums en rapport avec l'architecture...


Hello everybody

Je m'occupe des pubs sur les boissons avec Pierre Chatignoux et Pierre Bru :-)

à bientot,


Pierre Edouard

Pour Tiffany:

Avec Antoine et Charles nous sommes partant pour les 5 objets dans l'espace!

D'après moi il n'y aura pas vraiment de différence entre les objets et les émotions, donc on va commencer par les objets et on verra ce que ça donne!

Avec Thibaud G et Franck G nous acceptons de parler de la nourriture.Dans le cadre de l'activité de publicités nous avons trouvé des publicités sur le fromage, les chocolats Fauchon et le menu d'un grand restaurant parisien le "Jules Vernes" il peut être interresant de comparer...

Mais comme vous le soulignez on peut aussi parler de nos habitudes alimentaires.Comme Tina, j'aime beaucoup faire la cuisine, c'est une réelle passion.


J'aimerai relancer le sujet du SIDA (Aids) car c'est un sujet sérieux et qu'il y a une publicité française utilisant l'image du président Nicolas Sarkozy pour la lutte contre le sida. Il serait intéressant de comparer les mentalités française et américaine sur le sujet, savoir si ce genre de publicité est bien vue aux USA, si Barack Obama aurait pu faire une publicité du même genre, et ce que vous en auriez pensé.

J'espère vous avoir convaincu!

I really love Anna's idea about the use of public spaces, and how people relate to architecture.  I feel like taking pictures of how people socialize is in many ways just a subtopic of that.  There are so many wonderful opportunities to take pictures.  MIT has such unique spaces, both in its academic and residential buildings.  There are a number of social events coming up at MIT that really showcase much of what is unique here.  

Outside of just MIT, Boston/Cambridge is somewhat unique in the US because of the number of "squares" and pedestrian only areas.  Just taking pictures of Central Sq., Technology Sq., Davis Square, the financial district, and somewhere on the Freedom Trail would give such a diverse portrait of life here.  It would be really interesting to see which aspects of culture and the social use of space are comparable to Lille, and which are not.  I imagine that we might find more in common than we would in many other US cities, since Boston is such an old city (by US standards, certainly not by French ones).

Florence: I think that a project contrasting campaign ads for AIDS testing and prevention would be an incredibly interesting topic to undertake. In America, these ads are specifically designed to be evocative. From a media studies standpoint, I would be interested in seeing what the French think is an evocative anti-AIDS campaign. At this moment, I do not know specifics about Barak Obama's position in the fight against AiDS, but I would be interested in researching it.

Pierre, Antoine, Charles:

I agree that there may be a blurred line between objects and emotions (as objects often evoke or can represent emotions).

We can start with objects then...I also am starting to think five may not be enough -- but of course we can take a wide range of photos in the beginning and then pare down / choose afterwards.

Maybe we can also try to frame our objects in different settings -- so that the photograph can tell us a little bit more about the context and the environment in which we place this object in our lives. For example, this beautiful photo of rainboots also shows that this person enjoys going on walks with her best friend:


I am excited to see everyone's objects and perspectives.




I believe that comparing the architecture of major buildings in Boston and Lille could be interesting.  As the cities were built in different times, there is sure to be a lot of difference between the communities and this could be interesting to observe

Hey guys!

So Cinjon, Dima, Michael and I have formed a group around Cinjon's idea about taking pictures at random moments during the day.  We will each be taking two photographs a day of what we are doing at that matter what...

Here is the breakdown:

10 am/10 pm- Cinjon

12am/12 pm- Dima

1 am/1 pm- me

2 am/2 pm- Michael


I think this would be a really fun project and a lot of "interesting" photographs could come out of it.  But for us to be able to do this we have to convince at least two of the french students to participate in this exchange. 

Ok so reasons to do this: It will be easier to take pictures instead of finding things online...there will be no research neccessary since this is just our own experiences.  There will be a lot to compare for any final projects: the times we eat might be different, you guys wake up significantly earlier than us...etc...

Its only two pictures a day for  a few days...and is easier to describe something you personally did than some abstract French notion.

Think about it! :D