What a nice surprise to come back home after a week in Paris and get a Birthday gift in the mail from one of my friends. I guess some of my friends know me too well! My friend has ordered it in Amazon way before she knew I would actually be in Paris. I’ve been actually planning to buy this book awhile ago, after following its author, Nicole Robertson, from the blog Little Brown Pen.
So now I am unpacking my Parisian suitcase, putting away my new Les petites Parisiennes shoes, my new favorite perfume from Jovoy Paris, making myself a cup of coffee and slowly getting back to my New York’s routine.
Having the feeling of ‘Feels like home in Paris‘, living in a street that has the same name of a wine. Drinking my morning coffee on a typical French rooftop. Le Marais as the back yard, North of Le Marais as the hood. Getting off the Republique metro station or walking to Temple. Walking in a Parisian rain with no umbrella. Two chocolate mouse as a breakfast. Cute street names as Square Clignancourt, Rue Daru, or metro stop Poissionniere, just for the heck of saying it. Photography walk with local photographers, Birthday dinner with friends in a local place. Chocolate cake all for myself, Bon Anniversaire, Joyeux Anniversaire and a Happy Birthday song in French. Le Baron club. Miss “Queen Misterio” mask, original Photography prints rolled in two tubes. A 5-wine and cheese courses in one evening, Lunch in Collette. Having a private tour with Fred Le Chevalier the Street artist. Waking up to the view of the Sacre Coeur every morning and going to sleep with the same sight. Sundown around 10 in the evening, Sunrise even before 6. New friends, old friends, a friend’s photography exhibit at Village Royal. Buying cheese at Le Marche des Enfants Rouges, getting bread at Du Pain et des Idees and having lunch on a bench in Canal St. Martin with Anne Ditmeyer of Pret a Voyager. Teaching my sister the art of the dyptich, running into a private party in the middle of the day. Counting baguettes on a Sunday. Jam and Cheese in one spoon. Pink Ballerina shoes at Les Petites Parisiennes, Meeting Lindsey of Lost in Cheeseland. Merci Merci. H&M, Mama Shelter Hotel. Poiray rare perfume, Godiva Chocolate as a starter. My favorite cheese gorgonzola mascarpone. Running up in the streets of Montmartre, running down toward Pigalle or Jules Joffrin. Cooking class and a morning Parisian market. The smell of chocolate croissants in the morning. Recognizing some streets, finding my way around and having my sister with me on my Birthday…Priceless!
“No matter how serious life gets, you still gotta have that one person you can be completely stupid with…”
Île de la Cité, Paris June 2012
I was walking in the streets of Paris for hours yesterday with my sister. She came from Tel Aviv and I came from New York to celebrate my Birthday here, in Paris. It was quite a last-minute-plan that worked out very well like a last-minute-plan can work out. My sister hasn’t been to Paris for a while and I am here for a shoot (and I don’t need an excuse to go to Paris) so the timing was perfect for both of us.
Talking about timing. Today I am celebrating my Birthday. And I think the sentence attached to this image, describes very well the essence of an Age. or Aging. or an Attitude towards life. Being able to laugh at yourself from time to time or allowing yourself to be silly or stupid, can be a great thing.
Talking about timing. What makes a photograph to a good one, is timing as well. We were walking in the area of Île de la Cité, right about to cross to the Notre Dame de Paris, when we saw this clown with the aquarium on his head. I wasn’t really impressed or paying attention as I saw him already in my previous visit to Paris but my sister got quite curious so she stood there to look at him.
When I turned my head back to call my sister to join me, I saw this kid. The way these two were interacting was amazingly funny, naive and so….pure. I couldn’t help myself and I took these pictures.
One of my closest friends tends to measure her Birthday and the year that passed by the number of places she has visited and the number of people she fell in love with. In other words, a good year for her will be a year well travelled (to some new destinations) and a year she has experienced love or fell in love at least once. When she shared with me this information, I smiled and paused for a second but just because I had to think about her great idea and evaluate my past year according to her standards; Love and new destinations.
Looking back at where I was and what I did and how I celebrated my previous Birthday and having a check point to where I am at now (few days before my birthday) I must admit I have covered quite much of the plan. Yes, I’ve been traveling quite a lot for work or to catch up with family and friends and I met some interesting people.
Last year on my Birthday I packed my camera bag and another Gemini friend (Sharyn) and we went to Nassau, the Bahamas. We both wanted to escape New York for a while. We didn’t want to deal with velvet ropes or high priced drinks as we did in previous years on our Birthdays. Obviously the Bahamas was a great escape, even though I experienced a semi-Tornado storm on the day of my Birthday for the first time in my life.
On the day of our Birthdays we both wrote our goals for the next coming year (sort of a habit we keep). I think Sharyn wrote hers on a piece of paper and shoved it in a beer bottle and then she threw it to the water. I wrote mine on the back of a Murakami’s book I was reading back then. Whereas I am not sure how much did Sharyn complete her list, I think I covered almost 60% of mine.
It has been an exciting year for sure, and even though 60% of my goals were covered, I’ve managed to achieve some extra new ones I didn’t plan before;
I have traveled to some new destinations and came across different and various cultures. I made some new friends. I might even lost some. I tasted new kinds of food I would never imagine I try, not to mention where I found it. I learned how to translate my thoughts and ideas into pictures and words. I struggled with lighting equipment. I started to like negative space. I met and photographed famous people. I got nervous before doing that. I tried to decide what should be in focus. I took blurry pictures. I probably bad worded something up. I got confused more than once because of a guy. I considered getting off facebook few times. I finally gave in to Twitter. I found my name printed in some global websites and magazines. That was exciting! I got impatient so many times. I fell few times while running. I tried to be courageous. I talked to myself while taking the Subway. I took a 24 hour flight (almost non stop). I took a night train all the way from Hanoi to Sapa just to realize there was too much fog for a shoot. I took the midnight train back at the same day. I left my camera bag in the middle of a Starbucks in Tokyo. I watched a lot of French movies. I searched mostly for natural light. I took pictures of the interiors of other peoples homes and actually kind of liked it. I had some second thoughts regarding my unconventional life. I tried to forgive and forget. I had days based on coffee and dark chocolate. I tend to say YES to opportunities that came across and I freaked out when time was moving too fast.
And even though I feel I was quite slow paced the last couple of months, I can’t wait for the new ones to come.
“To go against the dominant thinking of your friends, of most of the people you see every day, is perhaps the most difficult act of heroism you can perform”
Nassau, the Bahamas, June 2011
This picture always reminds me the Brazilian movie ‘City of God’. Not that I can compare between the two situations (as probably there is no room for comparison) but there was something in the teenagers fast energy, that reminds me the fast-moving energy in the movie I watched so many years ago, but still echos in my mind. The movie tells the story of two childhood friends who grew up in the same violent neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, but each of them took a different path; one became a photographer, the other a drug dealer.
I was watching these teenager boys goofing and playing around, throwing each other to the water time after time. I followed them with my camera as I wanted to grab their energy, not their attention. This image grabbed me immediately; the way they straighten their backs, they way they walk tall and the confident way they carrying themselves. They were walking like that till they got to the edge of the pier and then they jumped.
“As we grow up, we learn that even the one person that wasn’t supposed to ever let you down probably will. You will have your heart-broken probably more than once and it’s harder every time. You’ll break hearts too, so remember how it felt when yours was broken. You’ll fight with your best friend. You’ll blame a new love for things an old one did. You’ll cry because time is passing too fast, and you’ll eventually lose someone you love. So take too many pictures, laugh too much, and love like you’ve never been hurt because every sixty seconds you spend upset is a minute of happiness you’ll never get back”
Nassau, the Bahamas, June 2011
I was in the Bahamas for my birthday with one of my Gemini friends, who celebrates her birthday three days before me. Whereas her birthday was quite sunny and warm, the day of mine, was with some showers and thunderstorms. This image was taken a day or two before my birthday, I think. I was walking on the beach, debating what to shoot, what to drink or whether to have a swim or not. And then I saw these teenager-kids goofing around. Throwing each other to the water, swimming back to shore, stepping back to the pier and doing it again. I decided to follow them with my camera and catch their great-young and restlessness energy. I couldn’t ignore the happy expression on this kid’s face and his inviting gesture. Do you think I jumped too?
To be honest, I don’t have a lot to say about Nassau in the Bahamas.
I arrived here few days ago with my friend Sharyn to celebrate our birthdays on the island. For the last two years or three we celebrated our Birthdays together in one of the rooftops in Manhattan, inviting our friends to have a drink or two with us.
But this year we both felt we want to avoid the city drama, and we got too bored with standing behind velvet ropes, so we have decided to have a destination Birthday and escape. We escaped a tiny, crowded, hectic island (Manhattan) and replaced it with a relaxed, slow paced, scattered one (The Bahamas).
I’ve wanted to visit the Bahamas for a while now, but only now I got the chance. It was quite a last minute thing, as we found a sweet deal and we decided to roll with it. We knew there might be a chance of a storm, but at the same time we knew we could see all different shades of blue colors so it was worth it. Besides, June rain and storms can happen in New York as well, so why not to go to THE Bahamas.
I can’t consider myself as the type who enjoys sitting in the sun all day doing nothing, and I am getting bored if the scenarios in front of my eyes hardly change. I know a vacation for me with a capital V, will never contains only palm trees and hammocks, because I need more than that. Don’t get me wrong, I am having a marvelous time, but since not a lot of sight seeing for a beach vacation, so not a lot to write about in this post.
Therefore I’d rather just stare at these calming, colorful images I took (it was before I fell and scratched the inside of my palms) and these endless shades of blue.
As much as the island is colorful and relaxed during day time, at night it transforms into something else, something different, with vibrant colors and complete different energy.
Solo Espresso Macchiato 3 times a day, extra shot on special occasions, Running every morning along the slow curve road, getting side tracked to run on the beach. Blue Stripes towels, 4 Hammocks and endless palm trees. Conch Salad, (they said it Aphrodisiac) Da Fish Fry, a very dominant Turquoise color and so many red flower trees. 4 Sunrises, 1 Sunset, and 1 Tropical Storm. Taking the Ferry to Paradise Island. Walking to the Atlantis. Getting bored at the Atlantis. Famous Rum Cake, even more famous Rum Liquor. Blue Skies, Sky Drink with extra Gin, Cuban Cigars on the Beach. Cable Beach. Pineapple, Mangos and Daiquiri shake for breakfast. One Canadian, One Israeli, Two Birthday Celebrations. One run too much, One Tan too much but too many Smiling faces… Priceless!