BEST DAY EVER! This phrase has come up quite a lot during this trip but this afternoon alone was worthy of the merit. The group was privileged enough to be invited to Jim Casper’s home, the creator of Lens Culture. As soon as we entered his home we were welcomed by his wife, Millie Casper’s contagious enthusiasm and mouth melting pastries. The delicious spread and hospitality was enough to impress us but our lesson hadn’t even begun. We took our seat in the beautifully decorated living room (where a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower was visible) and a presentation I will never forget begun.
Casper had us introduce ourselves and tell him how we became interested in photography. I was awed that he genuinely wanted to know who we were as photographers and people. The way he engaged with the class became even more involved and personal as he took us through his journey of starting his website and the incredible plans he has for it in the future. The most valuable piece of information that was reiterated was “happiness will only come if you follow your passion.” As cliché as it may sound, Jim Casper and his wife are living proof of this. In my entire college career I cannot recall a class where every single student wanted to make the lesson longer than four hours.
Feeling invigorated from our once in a lifetime experience, the group split into two to tour a close part of the city with Darcy or Howard. I don’t think that we went more than four blocks past where our hostel is but there was so much to see and do that it seemed like we toured the entire city. Howard’s group visited various small photo and art galleries; we walked through the Jewish quarter where Howard pointed out the best and cheapest falafel place; Howard pointed out mini treasures like the Anne Frank park and other small memorial sites; and we ended in Centre de Pompidou, where Howard kindly bought us all gelato and talked a bit about our upcoming project.
In the evening about half of us braved the metro system to the Eiffel Tower. We ventured to the top as the tower sparkled and had an unrealistically perfect end to our day.