Archive for octobre, 2010

A dog’s nightmare

Dimanche, octobre 31st, 2010

This sympathetic girl had a great idea to celebrate Halloween. Indeed, she dressed her dog with a pumpkin outfit, which did not seem to convince the dog too much.

Happy Halloween to all of you !  (click on picture to enlarge)

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Leica M9 with 35mm Summilux Asph at F2.8, 1/1000, ISO200

How should a street photographer dress ?

Samedi, octobre 30th, 2010

Some of you asked me to post an autoportrait yesterday. So to make it more interesting than just a guy sitting in front of a camera, here is a series of autoportraits straight from my bath tube. I let you guess by looking at these the way I dress before I hit the street.  Answers given after the pictures…      (click on pictures to enlarge)

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All taken with Leica M9, 50mm Summicron at F2, ISO800

Answer : Well, except for a a few details, 1, 3 and 5 are definitely outfits you could see me with in the street. While 2 and 4 would need quite a few bottles of wine before, but you never know. Morale of this post : it doesn’t matter how you dress as a street photographer, no need to look like a black ninja to hit the street. Stay cool, act normal and enjoy !

1 million visits, thank you!

Vendredi, octobre 29th, 2010

Sometimes this week, this blog reached the count of 1 million unique visits and is now running at a daily rate of about 4’000 visits. I’d like therefore to thank all of you that have been following this blog, I am very honoured and happy to see all that interest in street photography and Paris. Also a special thanks to the many that have commented, sent me emails and to all the great people that I have met in person. It has been a great learning and human experience for me.

It does not stop here but I take this opportunity to announce that we will be leaving Paris by the end of the year. Time for new horizons and for new adventures : 80 weeks around the world !  I plan to maintain this blog and its one picture a day routine, but more to come on this exciting trip soon ….

Meanwhile, time to get ready and buy a backpack as the sun sets on my Paris years ….  (click on picture to enlarge)

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Leica M9 with 35mm Summilux Asph at F1.4, 1/750, ISO200

Do not interrupt – passion outside

Jeudi, octobre 28th, 2010

Two lovers fondle on the terrace of a restaurant facing Notre Dame. They are so passionate that even the waiters seem unwilling to interrupt.  (click on picture to enlarge)

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Leica M9 with 35mm Summilux Asph at F1.4, 1/500, ISO200

Autumn Blues

Mercredi, octobre 27th, 2010

Trees turn yellow,  leaves are falling as a fresh breeze sweeps through park. It’s time for an Autumn Blues. (click on picture to enlarge)

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Leica M9 with 60mm Hexanon at F1/4, 1/1000, ISO200

Shopping burnout

Mardi, octobre 26th, 2010

A woman takes a break in front of a store on Les Champs-Elysées. Running out of space, credit or simply …. energy ?  (click on picture)

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Leica M9 with 35mm Summilux Asph at F1.4, 1/125, ISO800

Prisoner of the past

Lundi, octobre 25th, 2010

In an American style fast food restaurant located downtown, Marilyn looks through the window with apparent thoughts of freedom. Yet, decorations for the coming Halloween party seem to have been positioned to cut short any hopes of an escape. (click on picture to enlarge)

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Leica M9 with 35mm Summilux Asph at F1.4, 1/125, ISO200

Fashion comes from the street …

Dimanche, octobre 24th, 2010

… creators and the fashion industry are just the messengers. (click on picture to enlarge)
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Leica M9 with 60mm Hexanon at F1.4, 1/250, ISO200

On permission III : My beautiful Vespa

Samedi, octobre 23rd, 2010

I spotted this girl getting ready to hit the street with her Vespa and took a first shot unnoticed. Yet the only way to have a composition with depth (the street behind) was to position myself in front of her. I took the risk and unluckily got spotted before I could take that second shot. I therefore asked if she did not mind that I take her picture, to which she agreed. I could have asked her to act and look somewhere else, but by doing so, I would have created a fake street scene. I would not have felt confortable doing so, I always feel there is something unethical about it.

In the end, I like the aesthetics of the picture, yet to me it is a portrait more than a street photography shot.  (click on picture to enlarge)
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Leica M9 with 35mm Summilux Asph at F1.4, 1/180, ISO800

On permission II : The middle finger

Vendredi, octobre 22nd, 2010

When you don’t ask for permission before taking a shot, you obviously expose yourself to all kind of reactions. In very few instances, people will get mad and start arguing with you. Their arguments almost exclusively revolve about the fact that they think it is illegal to have their picture taken in the street, which is incorrect. My best advice here is to just smile, apologize and go away. Don’t waste your time, you’ll never succeed to convince them and once you have engaged in the discussion, it will only be a slippery slope.

This being said, I never had an argument become physical. And only twice in the last three years did someone show me the middle finger when I took their picture. One of them happened actually last evening, though I am almost sure that this sympathetic woman didn’t really mean her gesture.  (click on picture to enlarge)

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Leica M9 with 35mm Summilux Asph  at F1.4, 1/60, ISO200

On permission : The Vuitton dandy

Jeudi, octobre 21st, 2010

One of the question I often get is whether I ask permission to my subjects before I photograph them. The answer is a straightforward no. There are two reasons for that : first, scenes unfold and fold very quickly, most of the time what attracts your eyes initially is gone in a second. If you ask for permission, that scene will be gone forever and what you recreate will simply be untrue to your first vision. Secondly and let’s face it, most people are terrible actors. Asking for permission will mean that your subjects will start to act, or at least try. Yet unless you crossed path with Sean Connery, the awful acting will also show on your picture.

To illustrate, let’s take a look at the scene below. I spotted that dandy from about 50 meters out. I then moved as discreetly as I could until I reached the postion I had selected. I quickly kneeled and took the shot, it is clearly a candid as the man attitude remained unaltered by my presence. The man then spotted me and asked me « Can’t you ask for permission first? ». I answered to him straight away that I wanted to keep the spontaneity of the scene. His reply to that was « I understand, that is a good reason ».  (click on picture to enlarge)

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Leica M9 with 35mm Summilux Asph at F1.4, 1/2000, ISO200

We then chatted for a while and I asked permission for a close-up portrait. This leads me to this advice :  when shooting strangers, take shots as long as you remain unspotted (if you ever are). Then deal with the reaction and do not be afraid of people. Being photographed by a stranger can be perceived as an intrusion so be ready to explain and be honest about it. People will react much better then if you simply walk away. Coming back to that man I met on Les Champs-Elysées, I think I got lucky since is acting wasn’t all that bad.  (click on picture to enlarge)

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Leica M9 with 35mm Summilux Asph at F1.4, 1/2000, ISO200

Six lives, one second

Mercredi, octobre 20th, 2010

Six people sit in the Tuileries Garden and contemplate the main pound at sunset. An equal distance separates one another, probably respecting the unwritten law of personal space. One place, one second, but six different lives.  (click on picture to enlarge)

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Leica M9 with 60mm Hexanon at F1.4, 1/500, ISO200

On inspiration : Delayed Happy Ending

Mardi, octobre 19th, 2010

In an earlier post, I mentioned how one’s photography is often influenced by the work of other photographers. Nevertheless, inspiration really comes from any fact of life, be it of your daily existence or fiction as seen on TV. Last night I saw the awards winning French film ‘Ne le dis à personne’ (‘Don’t tell anyone’) which features a man searching for his wife who he tought was dead. As the thriller comes to an end, they are supposed to meet in the entrance of the Parc Monceau, next to its famous rotunda, for the long awaited reunion.  Unluckily, the woman has to run away as killers break in the scene, and it delays the Happy Ending. By coincidence, the  rotunda of the Parc Monceau is on my way to the dentist. So a few hours ago, as I was reluctantly walking there for a session of suffering, I crossed path with that couple in front of the rotunda. The movie immediately popped to my mind as I suddenly had the opportunity to create my Happy Ending version of the movie. Though perhaps, something in the eyes of the girl could let you think that the new story was not all that over. But I’ll leave it to your own inspiration.  (click on piture to enlarge)

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Leica M9 with 60mm Hexanon at F1.4, 1/2000, ISO200

The day after

Lundi, octobre 18th, 2010

Put some clothes on, grab a cigarette and go buy a few baguettes for Sunday breakfast.  (click on picture to enlarge)
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Leica M9 with 35mm Summilux Asph at F1.4, 1/500, ISO200

The Muse of Paris

Dimanche, octobre 17th, 2010

It’s an Autumn Sunday afternoon. Thousands head to Les Champs-Elysées Avenue for the traditional back and forth walk. It’s the coldest day so far this year, everybody looks the same wrapped up in winter clothes. Suddenly, she breezes through the crowd fearless, determined and with style. She is the muse of Paris. (click on picture to enlarge)

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Leica M9 with 35mm Summilux Asph at F1.4, 1/1500, ISO200

Stranger wine

Samedi, octobre 16th, 2010

I wonder what is a stranger wine. Is it an alcohol for strange people or for visitors from abroad ? Perhaps some wines are stranger than others ? In the end, it must probably be a wine that is not French. That would be strange though, indeed who drinks foreign wines in France anyways … (click on picture to enlarge)

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Leica M9 with 75mm Summicron at F2, 1/1000, ISO200

Time for some heavy shopping …

Vendredi, octobre 15th, 2010

« A quick look to make sure none of my buddies are around … »

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« … cleared.  Let’s get the money out, time for some serious shopping now »

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Both shots with Leica M9 and 35mm Summilux at F1.4, 1/750, ISO200

The 60mm 1.2 Konica Hexanon Review

Jeudi, octobre 14th, 2010

I often get emails with questions on the 60mm Hexanon. I therefore started to write a post that would cover them. As I progressed, it soon took the form of a more very long text, so I decided to make it as comprehensive as possible and call it a review. So here is my 60mm 1.2 Konica Hexanon Review. There are a lot of pictures in it, so even if you are not interested in equipment talks, have a quick look.

I hope the text does not result too much of a patchwork of impressions and facts. Patchwork like this scene taken in Pigalle at a taxi halt.  (click on picture to enlarge)

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Leica M9 with 60mm Hexanon at F1.4, 1/180, ISO200, ND filter

Romantism 101

Mercredi, octobre 13th, 2010

Take the 2CV out, head to the Seine River docks on a sunny but chilly October day. Then take a long walk facing the Eiffel Tower while the sun sets. Can it get any better ? (click on picture to enlarge)

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Leica M9 with 60mm Hexanon at F1.2, 1/4000, ISO200, ND filter

The call by Rivoli

Mardi, octobre 12th, 2010

On Avenue de Rivoli, a girl spends long minutes on the phone. Was the serenade as good as the view on the Louvres Palace ?  (click on picture to enlarge)

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Leica M9 with 35mm Summilux Asph at F1.4, 1/125, ISO800