They say you should never meet your heroes, but they’re wrong. One of the joys in an Internet-centric world is to be able to meet in the flesh the people you befriended via electron and pixel. People who have withstood the test of obligation-free, long distance relationships.
Over a period of three days DS founding mother Caroline, globe-trotters Paul and Steve, evil Mastermind Philippe and yours truly got the opportunity of multiple variable-geometry meetups and unlimited shooting.
Unlimited, that is, within the constraints of June hypothermia, a healthy lazy-arse attitude to everything, workload for those of us who still have to suffer through that unbearable necessity of life, the strength of the coffee and the attractiveness of the cafes on our various routes.
But unlimited enough to allow each of us to upload a few pics and words about their Paris. Which now follow.
Big softies, aren’t we? Sorry, I mean we humans are social creatures 😉
But it’s undeniable that even someone so used to and in love with solitude as I, really enjoys meeting friends for a chat and for a shared experience such as walking and shooting. It’s fun, and it’s inspiring.
Call me Sponge Bob if you will, but I find myself soaking up the styles of my co-conspirers whenever we’re together. My photography is different when done solo or in group. With Philippe, I’ll focus on intimate micro scenes that most people don’t even care about, those forgotten nothings that Philippe so eloquently transforms into emotionally moving pictures. With Steve and Paul, I turn into a street cat catching people in the act of their daily lives. With Caroline the sculptor, it’s shapes, form and texture that dominate.
Mingle we must. And more often.
It took a while, but finally the stars aligned, our diaries co-incided, travel was arranged and suddenly, there were five Susans all in Paris at the same moment in time. We imagined street shooting sessions, eating delicious breakfasts, lunches and dinners together and a great deal of catching-up.
Steve (Mallet) and I rode Eurostar from London, he clutching a brand new Fuji X-Pro2 and a 35mm f2; already earning a great name for itself and clearly deserving of the Fujicron mantle.
Pascal arrived with DS co-founder Caroline. He from Provence where he lives and in Paris on business, she having taken a day off work to join in the fun. Pascal was wearing his X1D and surprise, surprise, Caroline was sporting an X-Pro2, too. Hers was wearing Fuji’s large, but wonderful 16mm f1.4.
Our lunch, chat and afternoon wander was without Philippe, who was elsewhere earning a crust, but due to catch up later. That became the pattern; whoever is/was available would join us, otherwise we were TCB – taking care of business.
Philippe’s business commitments (and the Parisian traffic) finally released him on the evening of day two. A welcome sight, sporting a new Sony A7RII kitted-out with a Zeiss 25mm Loxia. We caught up and dined on fine Asian pork and the tiniest of tiny potatoes.
Day three was the first time we had actually planned an outing and headed across the Seine for Rue Mouffetard and its food market.
Being Thursday, the place was all but deserted, even after a full-on Parisian petit dejeuner and hope of some market activity had consumed an hour of our final time in the city.
A wonderful few days. We’ll do it again soon.
Some say photography is all about the gear, be it analog or digital. The pixels and the stops. The f-stops and the t-stops. Others ridicule that, saying that this quantitative evolution misses the important point, which is all about soul, and craft, if not outright art.
The pox on both their houses! Photography, I’ll let you know, is about neither. It is about people. ‘Togs. Blokes who get up early to catch the good light. Others whose eyes wander ceaselessly as they walk the streets, while their index finger twitches, the better to be ready when the moment -and the impulse- come.
Fact is, without such partners in un-crime as fellow DSers, I’d never have gone into town on that rainy, forlorn evening, nor gotten up early the next morning to wade right back in, but this time to glorious light.
So thanks, people, for being who you are, GAS-striken, opinionated and endless yakkers though you are. Thanks for being the modern-day sirens that lure me to the right place at the right time. Betcha Paul has never been called a siren. Maybe I should have my eyes checked…:-)
Anyway, this tells me, once more, that solitary pleasures are less intense than group ones, photographically speaking, of course. So it is fitting that my post ends with a picture of the great PJ, our founder and getter-together, in full swing…
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