I have said before that I consider Paris to be the spiritual home of street photography. I find that when I visit Paris, I automatically switch into seeing everything in black and white as I try to emulate the great street photographers of the past. On this visit, in keeping with the spirit of "pure" street photography, I also tried to limit myself to using a small point and shoot Fuji camera. I was somewhat successful - all but four of the snaps below were taken with it.
Street photography is so very, very different from portraiture. When shooting portraiture, I have to think things through ahead of time. It is a very methodical and proactive process, whereas with street work I just react to what is already around me. Such as buildings. I love the graceful lines and geometries of French architecture, especially in the ceilings of the public buildings.
Of course shooting ceilings in Paris is very common. Almost all the tourists do it.
Not everyone in church is there to look at the ceilings. Some people are more, uh, contemplative.
Some ceilings are just as pretty on the outside as they are on the inside.
One of my favourite buildings is the Musée d'Orsay. I cannot get enough of the building or the art it houses.
The clocks always attract my attention.
While it is as famous as the Musée d'Orsay, I had never visited the Centre Georges Pompidou until this trip. There was an HCB exhibit that I had to go see. I am not sure the janitor (lower left) felt as strongly about seeing the exhibit.
On the top floor of the centre is an external walkway in a Plexiglas tube, which can give you a unique perspective on the people below (assuming you are not fighting vertigo the whole time you are looking down).
The only place I know that is never busy (or at least has never been busy when I have been there) is the Musée de l'Orangerie. It is a great place to go and reflect in near solitude upon Monet's brilliance.
It was while we were at the Musée de l'Orangerie that I developed the notion that the French have a thing for curved lines and high contrast - something I became more certain of at the Grand Palais.
The nice thing about Paris is that even when walking from museum to museum, there are an infinite number of subjects that catch my eye. It appears I have a thing for people walking away from me.
I loved the way the condensation rolled off of ice at a fish market. I wonder why I do not notice these things at home?
Sometimes, though, I see things not quite so mundane, and I am reminded of how fortunate I am to be able to afford to go to Paris to visit and enjoy myself; not everyone has the same luxury.
On a more pleasant note, Paris is also a great place to see street performers. These guys were dancing up a storm, including doing back flips.
There are three things one simply must photograph while in Paris. One is the Eiffel Tower.
The second thing that is a "must photograph" item is the Seine or anything along the Seine.
The third thing I always try to capture is a scene of people engaged in that quintessential Parisian activity: sipping a coffee on the sidewalk. Even if it is cold outside, Parisians just bundle up and find a spot in the sun.
Of course not everyone drinks coffee. Some prefer more spirited beverages.
I must say that I quite liked the portability of the smaller camera, but I was constantly cursing its inability to focus quickly and the fact that I could not see what I was shooting due to an unusable optical viewfinder and a very dark screen. Most of the above shots were taken "blind"; I had to guess the composition as best I could. From what I hear, these issues have long been resolved and I suspect a replacement will soon be in my camera bag.