This year I truly learned that life is all about experiences and conversation. I have been so lucky this summer to travel across the United States for both weddings and commercial work. Never would I have thought I would be walking around the streets of New York, Boston, and jumping ditches in a rice field in Arkansas for a shot. It has simply been incredible, but it has also been a lot of hard work. After two years of working nonstop, I decided that this year I needed a break and I was going to finally make my way to Paris. With July typically being a slow wedding month due to the heat, I found two weeks to take the trip. One week would be spent in Paris, and the following week would be spent in London hanging out with my good friends Peter & Luke (I was an exchange student in England back in high school).
Paris has always been a place I have wanted to experience ever since I first started in photography. Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Doisneau, and Peter Turnley have constantly inspired me with their images of street life in Paris. Experiencing it for myself was something magical and almost indescribable. As soon as I got to my hotel, I found a local cafe, and just observed Parisan life. I noticed that Parisians generally moved at a much slower pace, never pulled out their cell phones in a conversation, and seemed to enjoy life. After constantly being in a rush for the next big project or material item, it was nice to be in a place that was all about slowing down and being happy with what you have. Over the course of my week in Paris, I found that the culture is what stood out for me the most.
My friend Kait, who was attending a violin workshop in Italy the week before, met me in Paris and it was fun to explore the city together. Before I left the U.S, I purchased the Rick Steve’s Pocket Paris Guide (so nerdy), and it actually turned out to be extremely valuable. Not only does the guide point out and explain the major sites, but it also helps with finding great restaurants and also explaining key French phrases. Unfortunately, we both had very limited experience with the French language, but Rick got us through it. I decided to document my adventure with Super 8mm, and I shot a ton of stills through my rangefinder cameras (Leica M6 & M9). I wanted a setup that would light enough to walk all day with and the Nizo + Leica cameras were definitely it. While I wanted to take a ton of street photos and really seek out images, we spent the majority of our time in museums and just exploring. To me, my favorite images came from being curious and never “hunting” for photos. Unfortunately, the two weeks flew by quickly, but I can honestly say it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. As an artist, to see the incredible artwork in the Louvre, and to be in the places where some of the world’s greatest artists worked, was incredibly inspiring. Beyond everything, the culture has taught me to slow down, get to know the people around me, and to enjoy life. I always say that the most interesting people we meet are the ones that have the best stories, and while I am young, I want to create and experience as much as I can. In fact, I am going to Cuba next January for a workshop with Peter Turnley, and I will hopefully be spending a month in Paris next year with close friends and family. I’ll be sharing all the images soon, but for now, enjoy our Super 8mm film below!