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!

 

Voyage à Paris

Well, I’m here again! It’s nice to be back in Paris- even if today was a bit of a successful cluster of a day.

We started out this morning at 6AM. We hopped on our train to France, where I fell asleep with my mouth hanging open and I drooled a little bit but hey I shouldn’t see any of those people on the train ever again. I really hope I never run into the conductor, because I tripped her on accident and if looks could kill I would not be typing this right now.

When we got into Paris we bought Metro passes and fought our way to our hostel. I mean, no punches were thrown but if the Metro system was a person, I don’t think I would hold back. I’m just spoiled by the tube, I guess, so even though the Metro is relatively easy to use, getting down to the trains is a nightmare. But yeah, we made it, the hostel is lovely, and we went to Versailles.

I was well prepared for Versailles this time. I brought my Natura Classica with me to help me out in the dimly lit apartments. I obviously don’t have those images quite yet (if only I had a pop-up developing tent like in the good ol’ days,) so the suspense that must be killing you right now will have to be endured. Also, my friends are great because they ended up waiting for me for about 20 minutes at the exit while I took my dandy little photography-driven time through the place. That’s love.

BUT THE BEST PART ABOUT TODay was the gardens.

Now, remember the last time I was in Paris, it was cold and it was the first week of April. There were no flowers. No fountains. It was pretty and all, but it wasn’t screaming HELLO YES WE ARE THE FAMOUS GARDENS OF VERSAILLES YOO HOO LOOK AT HOW PRETTY AND FLAMBOYANT WE ARE HOW ABOUT YOU GO FOR A STROLL AND MAYBE START A REVOLUTION OR SOMETHING?

All of that happened this time. Except the revolution.

My friends and I did a photo shoot in the gardens on my Voigtlander Brillant v6. So, once again, I have nothing to show you because I have to get those developed before I can show you. I’m pretty excited about them though, and if they turn out anything like my last batch from that camera, it’ll be revolutionary (see what I did there? do you see it?)

After toiling through the gardens for a few hours (my camera bag was back-breaking and it was hot and man those gardens don’t look so big from the Palace but when you’re suddenly at the end of the Grand Canal you may have some regrets I’m jussayin’,) we went back into Paris and decided to try getting to the Louvre before it closed. Well, that was a fail on 4 of 5 of our parts (kudos to Sarah for practically running across Central Paris in the name of art!) so instead we strolled along until we got to the Pyramids and soaked our feet in the fountains.

It was a lovely, busy day, and I’m looking forward to more adventures tomorrow. It’s wonderful to be back in the City of Light- let’s see what being around all this artistic inspiration does for my work!

À bientôt, and Happy Shooting!