Thursday, August 12, 2010

Le photographe

Today's outing was a trip to La Monnaie de Paris (the Paris Mint) where a collection of Willy Ronis photographs was exhibited. Willy Ronis (1910-2009) was a French-Jewish photographer whose work is internationally known and recognized. If you don't know his name, undoubtably you have seen his photographs somewhere.

Again, no photographs were allowed inside the exhibit, but I really wanted you to see his work so I gleaned some of my favourites off the internet to share. You can certainly Google his name if you want to see more - and I would highly recommend it because they are wonderful.

I might be a bit biased, because I love black and white photography.

As I've said before, the only way to visit a museum or exhibit is alone. The reason I feel this way is that when I look at paintings, sculpture, photography, etc. I want to feel it, not just see it. I don't want to discuss it with anyone, nor do I want to hear some know-it-all telling her husband what she thinks it means. Needless to say, within five minutes of crossing the threshold of La Monnaie de Paris, Sandi and I had split up. We met back at the apartment for lunch.

Here are some of the photos I saw today:

The last photo is for Pat, because I vowed to find her a picture of penguins in Paris.

It's no secret that I'm not a great photographer. I work with a Canon A530 that I can stuff in my purse and go. It doesn't do zoom well; it doesn't do dark well; it doesn't really do anything well. But I was inspired to take part in a little experiment this afternoon to see what I could capture with my little Carlos (yes, he has a name). I may be wrong, but it seems to me that to be a great photographer, an expensive camera - while desirable - is not exactly necessary. What really counts is courage. The courage to snap a picture anywhere, even if you look like a tourist, even if you make people wonder what the heck you're seeing, even if people get slightly annoyed at you. I'm working on the courage.

Here are some results of my afternoon experiment.

Le cycliste, Quai de Conti

Vendeuse de rue, Quai de Conti

Pont Neuf, Paris

Quai Saint-Michel, Paris

Notre-Dame sous le pont

La sieste, Square René Viviani

Boutique de souvenirs, rue Saint-Séverin

La montée des marches, 18 rue Xavier Privas

L'amour dans le square du Vert Galant

Pont Neuf

Une jeune famille sur le quai

Beaucoup de tours Eiffel à un décrochage

Un ancien restaurant, rue de la Bûcherie

So, I am no Willy Ronis and I'm quite sure I'll never have an exhibition of my photography. This is not even an area in which I wish to develop skill, since I already have enough hobbies that yield me mediocre results. However, it was fun looking at ordinary, every-day things through the eyes of a photographer, trying to see things through a "different lens" so to speak.

I also think that black and white is a great equalizer; it gives photos a kind of timeless quality. When I was viewing Ronis's exhibit, I noticed that the scenes he captured, particularly those in Paris, could have been taken any time. Only the clothing and hairstyles gave clues to the era.

If you're looking for something to do over the next couple of days, try this experiment for yourself. Email your black and white photos and we'll have our own exhibition online!

I hope you enjoyed today's installment of "Les aventures d'une fille à Paris". We're off for our little evening walk now and to make plans for tomorrow. I think Sandi's given up on the Crêpe-a-Day plan; she discovered a lovely little pâtisserie up the road and has been doing her own type of experimenting - with croissants and tartes and pain-aux-raisins and... c'est délicieux!

Bonne nuit, mes amies!


PunkiePie said...

I loved your experiment! You took some wonderful pictures!! I will have to try that for myself.

Pat said...

Okay...I enjoyed seeing Ronis' photos, but YOURS are very good, Rachel....really! And, of course, I am thrilled with my photo of the penguins. I'm going to "pinch" it from here, okay? Also...what IS that blue I see up in the sky in the first couple of photos?? Are you about to tell us you had a sunny day with bright blue skies??? WHOA...that might be the biggest news of all. Now I am going to search out some of our photos and change them to black and white and see if I can find a few to share with you. Hubby likes changing some of ours to black and white, also!

Thimbleanna said...

Ha! I'm glad to see that sweets plan being put into action LOL. Your photos are gorgeous Rachel -- you should re-think your plan not to delve into photography. And I couldn't agree with you more -- museums are best seen alone!

Patty said...

I agree there is something about black and white. I enjoyed seeing Ronis' photos but Pat yours are very good as well.

Quilting Lab said...

All the pics were lovely! Such a fun idea...looking through different eyes! My daughter took a photo course and did some great B&W photos, I've never tried.
I like that you are taking your time and looking alone, makes sense to me!

andsewon said...

Love your photos Rachel! I too have a cheap camera but do enjoy the photos I do in B&W. A couple my son wants me to print and frame for him...I am honored he likes them that much.
I am sure some of yours from this awesome Paris trip would look amazing framed up too!

Dogwood said...

Great and fun post. I too love black and white photography. Paris oh Paris. I am so glad that you are having so much fun!

Hugs, Dogwood

cozy quilter said...

I, too, love to take pictures. I have not made any of them black and white before. I will have to try that. Your pictures are great. I am enjoying your blog about your trip and seeing Paris though your camera lens. Thanks!

Barb said...

Just loved it!!! Loved the pictures...everything.

Vesuviusmama said...

Great exhibit, both yours and his. I love black and white photography, too. In fact, other than photos of my family, all of the photos on the walls in my house are black and white. Actually, even some of my family photos. If I think of it this weekend, I'll try to snap some shots of my world in black and white to send to you.