Rue de Turenne
Photographs and thoughts from a week spent in Paris, France.
Paris, France. A city and country I desired to visit for as long as I can remember. Cliche, I know. And finally, after repeated weeks of me attempting to purchase flights (and failing because I’d find any reason not to go), I found a good ticket price and practically forced myself to purchase it. As odd as it sounds to convince my own self to see new places, it’s often true. I will always find a way to not go somewhere, or not do something. Growing up in a lower middle class family, we rarely traveled and learning about different cultures wasn’t something my parents stressed to my brother and I. To this day, I will devalue many experiences that I can easily chalk up to being a “waste of time and money.”
And so, about Paris…
I assure you this won’t be a guide to the city and I won’t mention landmarks or places I visited. Instead, I’d like to point out something that happened that I didn’t foresee happening, but ultimately enhanced the trip— immensely. Somehow or another I was able to set up individual sessions with seven different people, all of them local to Paris and willing to model. As a result of worrying about people canceling, I committed to them all assuming at least one would back out at some point.
None did. I even added a session after arriving.
Therefore, I had eight sessions in just five days. And while I surely got to sight see and explore the area (I walked 55 miles), meeting and talking to and photographing each of these people ended up being an experience itself, an absolute highlight of the trip. I consider myself fairly introverted, tend to stay home often, and normally I wouldn’t allow myself to photograph this many people in such a short period of time. I even considered removing one or two but in the end I committed to doing them— and I’m extremely grateful I did.
Each person, and session, was more unique than anticipated. While nearly all sessions were done in my flat (I found that to be the easiest place to photograph due to privacy concerns), they each had their own defining characteristics. Every model offered something different; whether it was the way the moved, sat, stared, etc. I had enjoyable conversations with each of them; learning about local customs, politics, and restaurant recommendations. Learning about each of these people was the unanticipated and most cherished part of my trip.
Paris hit differently than I thought. In the weeks prior I read a lot of great things about Paris; I also read many terrible things as well. I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t want to hype it up. I saw many of the landmarks, I walked many of the streets, I did a few of the touristy things— but none of those made Paris different than any other major city with beautiful landmarks and a vibrant history. I’ve heard people speak of an allure to Paris that not everyone feels, and after leaving I understand what they mean.
If you ever have a chance to visit, please do. I can’t speak for all of the city as I didn’t get to see it entirely, but I know it doesn’t matter. There’s something indescribable (my second cliche line, possibly third, of this Substack) about the city and even without seeing it entirely, I felt accepted and welcomed. I felt at home.
At least one photograph of each model was included above, however here is a small gallery of additional photographs I’m quite fond of. I truly considered making this into a full photographic series but the uniqueness of each person convinced me not to. I felt it was better to highlight each model, and person, individually.