Monday, 9 May 2016

Paris... Again.

2014_Paris_0086bI 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.

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Of course shooting ceilings in Paris is very common. Almost all the tourists do it.

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Not everyone in church is there to look at the ceilings. Some people are more, uh, contemplative.

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Some ceilings are just as pretty on the outside as they are on the inside.

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One of my favourite buildings is the Musée d'Orsay. I cannot get enough of the building or the art it houses.

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The clocks always attract my attention.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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There are three things one simply must photograph while in Paris. One is the Eiffel Tower.

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The second thing that is a "must photograph" item is the Seine or anything along the Seine.

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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.

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Of course not everyone drinks coffee. Some prefer more spirited beverages.

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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.



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