How To Photograph Nostalgia And History In Glorious Paris
Paris is the most beautiful city in the world. That's the view of many experienced travelers. While I’m sure it’s up there, I feel I need to visit many, many more cities before I can voice my own opinion on that subject.
I’ve visited both Paris and St. Petersburg during the summer. Of the two I’d have to say that, from a photographers point of view, St. Petersburg might just get the chocolates.
Having said that I’d really want to spend significantly longer periods of time in each city, which I certainly hope to, before I’d be comfortable with my opinion.
How To Photograph Paris, The Living Museum
And, anyway, what criteria are we using to define a city?
Thus far I’d say Salzburg and Bruges (Brugge for our Flemish friends) are my favorite cities at the lower end of the population scale.
Paris probably sits somewhere between large and mega on the population scale. Does that mean we should have separate categories to accommodate, for example, Bruges, Paris and Mexico City?
I think we should.
And what about other criteria like safety, water quality (I’ve had giardia and a range of other nasties), living expenses and weather.
Even as a tourist I’m not so sure I’d be as excited about St. Petersburg, long term, if I had to stick out a whole winter there. And I’m positive I wouldn’t if I was on a backpacking budget.
Photographing The World | So Much To See
Despite all the travel I’ve undertaken over the years, I’m yet to visit Prague, Venice, Budapest, Barcelona and Istanbul, let alone Kyoto or Jerusalem. So, really, what do I know?
Fortunately I have been to Paris, on two separate occasions, and, while each trip was only for a few days, I did get out and about exploring and photographing as much as I could.
Paris is most certainly a very, very beautiful city. It’s interesting how, when viewed from a reasonably elevated position looking out towards Sacre Coeur Basilica, just how beautiful the almost chalk white surrounding buildings can be in the sunlight.
Likewise, the centre of Paris on a balmy, summer’s evening is a very special place to be when you’re out an about looking to make beautiful photos.
I heard an interesting report on the radio recently discussing the fact that many young parisians feel that their city, rather than being a modern, vibrant city is actually suspended in a kind of time warp.
Dare I say, that’s what makes it so attractive to tourists. And that’s the very reason I made the photo, at the top of this post, of the streetscape leading down to the Academie Nationale De Musique in black and white.
Truth: It’s In The Making
It’s an extremely impressive facade, full of subtle tonality and fine detail.
Removing color from the scene was necessary as, by doing so, it emphasized those very elements of composition that were so important to the success of the image.
As a result there’s very little in the scene that dates it to the present day.
If you’re looking to portray nostalgia, black and white is the way to go. Why not give it a go, madame and monsieur?