Viva la France! Road-trip Foolishness Pt. 1: Paris

This past month was my third time in France, in the beautiful city of Paris. The first time I went was with family, and I had just taken my first color photography course and was a huge newbie. The second time I went was on a weekend from my study abroad program, and I forgot my camera battery and I ran out of camera film. This time, I was prepared!

My friends and I all met up in Paris for the start of what would be a long road-trip through France. We spent three full days in Paris, checking out the usual sites like the Louvre, the Musee d’Orsay, the Eiffel Tower, and the Champs Elysees. We walked around Montemarte, got lost a few times, ate breakfast from a cafe and were just a couple of tourists.

And I took excellent photos, at last.

 

For this trip to France I brought 4 cameras (which may seem excessive to some, but hear me out, and mind you, when I studied in England back in 2014, I brought like 9 cameras so this was light!) I brought my Canon Powershot (more on that later,) my Fuji Natura Classica (whose beautiful film has been discontinued UGH,) my iPhone, and a Fuji Instax.

The Powershot was okay. It was compact and light, and I brought it with me on my adventure to Asia in 2017, but as a professional photographer I was dying inside. Home girl really needs to invest in a full frame DSLR. Between the Powershot and my iPhone, I took a TON of photos of mediocre quality but awesome content.

 

One of the many magical things about Paris is, no matter how many times I have been, it is always exciting and new. This time when I went to the Louvre, I was able to see it in a new way– the last two times I had visited, I was focused on the arts and antiquities (I mean, as I should,) but this time I was able to focus on the architecture and the sheer madness that is the Mona Lisa gallery. (When my friends were hesitant on whether or not to dive into the fray, I was like YOLO FUCK IT LETS ROLL and man I regretted it but then again I got that fun shot of being totally crushed in the crowd so whatever haha am I right?)

There is something magical about wandering around Paris with good friends. I know Paris isn’t for everyone; some feel it is too dirty, too touristy, too busy. But that’s what I love about it. I got to see street artists making knock-off Disney princesses in the street, and I went into the Centre du Pompidou without knowing it was a library, of all things. I was a total creeper and photographed people unapologetically for probably the first time in my life (and my one friend, Sean, kept saying “oh my God ur such a crEEP”)

Most importantly, when visiting my absolute favorite place in the entire world, Notre Dame de Paris, the bell tower was open! It had not been open the last two times I visited, and I 100% cried.

 

So, I love Paris, with all of it’s tourism and charm. We did a lot of walking because honestly, that’s how you see the quirkiness of the city. We got lost looking for the Metra, found a playground in excellent golden hour light, and by our hostel there were the remnants of a carnival that looked straight-up terrifying and therefore photogenic af. If it weren’t for dragging my less-than-willing friends around the city, I wonder if I would have enjoyed Paris the third time around.

Nah, who am I kidding? I would have loved it regardless. It is the City of Love, after all.

 

I’ve noticed that the more I travel, the more my style as a travel photographer is realized. I’ve noticed I’m keen on patterns of light and shadow and people looking involved in whatever it is they are doing (was that a long way of saying I enjoy candids of strangers? Yes.) I sometimes worry if my work is becoming formulaic, but maybe that’s a silly thing to worry about when traveling around the world making photos. Honestly, just take the damn picture if you want to.

Happy Shooting and Safe Travels!

 

Vincent van Gogh’s Ear Goes on Vacation

My hobby of making fun narratives while globe trotting has continued! For my two-week road trip through France, I decided to make a reference to the famous and widely-adored painter, Vincent van Gogh.

Van Gogh, though Dutch by birth, spent a lot of time in France. A strange yet well-known fact about him was that during one of his depressive episodes, he cut off his own ear.

And, because I think I’m hilarious, I decided to take his detached ear, name it Vinny, and took it around France for a much-needed vacation.

Naturally, the ear needed a straw hat, like the real Vincent, and a painting palette and brush because inspiration can hit anywhere.

I am a very goofy person. The biggest challenge was finding the small paint palette and straw hat, and I refused to do without. I eventually found both at the craft store, and the glasses were something I just came across and decided “YES PERFECT” without much thought.

I required the straw hat for a reason, and that reason was this self-portrait of my muse:

Image result for vincent vangogh hat

Traveling with a cardboard-ear-on-a-stick certainly got me some strange looks, but honestly this travel narrative is one of my favorites so far. You can find some of my others below:

The Girl From Bath (Bath, England)

Colors of London

Before the Cliff’s Edge (Cliffs of Dover)

Fell into a Faerie Portal (Ireland)

Memento Mori (Western USA)

Thanks for reading, and safe travels and happy shooting!

Paris Throwback

I kept forgetting about a roll of film from my trip abroad that hadn’t been developed. I’ve been procrastinating on getting it done because I’d have to mail it to Lomography in NYC, which is a bit expensive, and I’d have to wait about a month. But, when I was getting things together for NYC, I noticed it, and packed it, figuring I could deliver it to the store myself and get it developed over the weekend. My plan succeeded, so, here’s a throwback to Paris, Lomochrome Purple XR panoramic style:

I used my Horizon Perfekt and determined the exposures without a light meter. It’s good I can do this regularly now, considering I’ve kinda been doing this photography thing for a while… even so, I’m thrilled they came out so nicely.

I think my favorite is the Eiffel Tower one, but they each look so nice it’s hard to commit to that comment.

There are two things I want to do with my life: travel and take photographs.

Happy Shooting!

Musings of a Weary Traveller

I took a Fuji Instax Wide camera with me to London with two projects in mind: the project with the photos within photos (which I’m still editing- I seriously have like 20 left,) and the one I’m about to show you.

I found this travel photo diary at a thrift store, and the gears clicked into place. Before this discovery, I was anticipating just using the instant photos for the above mentioned project and then put them in a box somewhere. But, the album inspired this series instead.

I was initially going to say that the dialogue comes from an anonymous character I made up, but really I just sat around, brooding over something deep to say. Some of these things I thought while I was experiencing the scene. Others, I just tried to remember what it was like and what kinds of thoughts could be spurred from it. Each image and phrase across from it is connected- in some, the parallel is apparent, while in others… not so much.

I still have a ridiculous amount handful of photos to edit from the trip, and I still have to mail some film off, so I’m not done yet! The semester has officially started, I have my first photography project, and I’m in the process of applying for grad schools and jobs. Here’s to a good rest of the year! It’s bound to be productive.

and, of course, Happy Shooting.

Every Photographer Needs Patient Friends

Gotta love that post-travel blues. Here are some more photos, this roll was shot at Versailles- the main reason why I brought my Natura on this trip with me. The rooms aren’t lit the best, so I figured a super light sensitive camera would do the trick. And I was right.

I also got some nice shots at the Musée d’Orsay and a few random places around Paris. And I think that statue with the “Hey! Look at this guy!” vibe goin’ on is from the Louvre. But I can’t remember but hey, lookin’ good dude!

Let me tell you how I have some really great friends right quick.

So we’re in Versailles, right? This is my second time there, and a couple of my friends are a little behind us, so we decide to set up a place to meet (the exit) in case we separated. I was anticipating being one of the first people done wandering, since I’ve been there before, so I kind of set up this plan thinking I was the responsible adult type and I would wait for the kids at the end should they get distracted by the pretty gilded ceilings and floral tapestries.

Ha.

They were waiting for me for a good 20 minutes at the end. That’s right- me. So, shout out to my friends who sat patiently while I stood in the Hall of Mirrors for fifteen minutes. Every photographer needs friends like these.

Happy Shooting!

Une journée à Versailles

Today is a good day. I got my prints and negatives from the shoot I did in the gardens at Versailles:

The first image was an accident. Whoops. The other two, not so much. My Voigtlander Brillant v6 did exactly what I wanted it to do, which was create a foggy, dreamlike effect. I think I found a good use for this camera.

Some unfortunate things did happen. I had two potentially AWESOME photographs, but… I somehow accidentally double exposed them? I have NO IDEA how I accomplished this on my ancient camera, but whatever. That’s why I shot in digital, too.

I tried emulating the dream-like effect that my medium format camera wielded, but I didn’t get close at all. I do like what I ended up with though- the feeling I wanted is still there.

Originally, this shoot was going to have at least six or seven girls in it, but plans got all mixed up and our group all didn’t end up going to Versailles on the same day. It was for the best though, because it was difficult enough arranging three girls in an unknown place- I can’t imagine trying to do that with six or seven girls! Though, hopefully one day I can get a chance.

So, yeah, another international shoot under my belt. I have one more set of photos I’m waiting on that features a model, so keep an eye out. Until then, you know what to do: Happy Shooting!

 

Angst and Art and Photography and Dangit

You know when you have an idea that has a lot of potential but it just doesn’t work out as perfectly as you hoped? Well, it sucks. But whatever, I got four images out of it and four is my lucky number so take that universe.

I wanted to double exposure all of the landmarks in Paris with famous works of art housed in Paris museums. But, the sky was overcast all weekend, which is NOT good for trying to make a double exposure. I should have stopped down more.

Well, I know for next time. C’est la vie.

I’m totally getting a kick out of the Mona Lisa/Liberty Leading the People one. Liberty is trying to lead all the tourists away so I can have a private viewing! I really lucked out with the Eiffel Tower at night with Starry Night Over the Rhone– it doesn’t get any better than that, my friends.

Well, that’s it. Pretty odd, having these shorter posts after having weeks of long rants. I feel like I need to write more and fill up space- is it working? Am I doing this right? Have I taken up enough space now for this to look like an acceptable post?

Happy Shooting.