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on some favorite images taken while walking the streets of paris

Walking the streets of Paris, wandering as a flâneur, is a favorite pastime. I carry a camera every day. I might take a bus one day to a far away section of Paris, but once I begin walking again I explore and I look for some interesting images to capture.

I have walked many—most—streets. Once I bought a large map, the size you might tack to a wall. I decided to pencil in the streets I walked that day. It was like writing in a diary. I found the map the few years later. It was criss-crossed with lines.

Somewhere in my archive of photographs I have pictures taken of those walks.

I decided to look at some of the photographs I have taken recently in the streets of Paris and think more about why I like them.

This image was taken in the Marais district in Paris. I had just eaten lunch at Les Philosophes, a favorite bistrot in that part of Paris. I was walking along Vieille du Temple when I saw the woman step out of the shop and stand in the doorway. She looked like she might be from a year other than 2021, her hair, the style of her dress and blouse, and then the black and white settings in the camera further suggests a sense of timelessness. I like that the light has formed a V-shape that helps frame her. Her light blouse against the darkness in the shop focuses the attention on her.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.) 

I was walking along the Rue des Archives and headed for the Seine. First, I saw the young men hanging out to my left at Place Ovida Delect, checking their smart phones. A little further to the left I saw the two women—maybe mother and daughter—arriving from an adjacent street, rue des Blancs Manteaux. I turned and quickly took the photograph.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

The image has some symmetry. The barred window in the background anchors the young men; the manhole cover in the center is in the center and draws our attention to the young men; and the bikes and scooter to the right and the women to the left frame those men. A diagonal line from the women through the manhole cover to the man on the right edge of the bench can be drawn.

Another reason why I like the image is that I can image that the contrasting worlds of these two groups, the two women and the five men, the ages of the young about the same, because of race, most likely might not ever meet.

The Fontaine Saint-Michel like Notre-Dame cannot be missed when standing in the center of Paris where Boulevard Saint-Michel and the Seine converge at Pont Saint-Michel. Many tourists stand on Pont Saint-Michel and take their photos of Notre-Dame. To their right though is the Fontaine Saint-Michel.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

I was not interested in the fountain as much as the people before it. I saw three groups. To the left, two men walk diagonally toward each other; they don’t appear to look at each other. The middle group is a family. The children, facing each other, and the mother look to the fountain. The husband looks to the left toward them. In the immediate foreground is a woman looking to the right and in contrast to the husband looking to the left.

Our attention on these three groups is directed by the lines on the pavement, by the arc surrounding the family, and the manhole cover which points to the center of the photo and to the family.

The woman in the foreground is anchored (framed) by the two columns on the fountain. The family and the man walking away are confined by the two pillars, and the man on the left is anchored by the statue and separated from the others by the left column.

The photo has an old fashioned look because I used a film stock simulation Kodak Tri-X 400.

Many stories are suggested in this one photograph taken near the Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris. Where rue Vavin and rue Bréa converge there is a small, shaded park where some teenagers gather during lunch time.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

I had pointed my camera, not at them but else where, but they still offered themselves for a photograph. I obliged by including them in something I had already in mind.

This image is framed by the young man walking away on the left toward the couple in the background and on the right by a woman and her child, who is yawning. She is walking toward the center. In the center background are two young people, a woman and a man, each facing in opposite directions. Their position is anchored and separated by a young man sitting on the bench in the foreground. He faces us, while she looks away from us to the store front in the foreground. The two men on the left side of the bench are held in their position as a pair by the tree behind them.

There seems to be a circular movement with the man on the left moving toward the back while the woman and child to the right are following to the left toward the bench that the young man has just left. Inside this circle is a space left open. All of the action in the image occurs along the edges.

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