The morning started off like almost every other morning of our trip, with breakfast at our hostel. As we all scurried to be done with breakfast, we met to travel to our designated meeting place, under a statue down a few blocks from our hostel, to meet with our instructors and travel to the residence of Philippe Vermés. When arriving, we walked through a beautiful outdoor hallway that was lined with old bicycles, greens, and flowers. Shortly after our arrival, we were ushered into the home of Philippe and gathered in a circle of chairs and indulged ourselves with a sweet snack that was so graciously provided to us.
Philippe started off talking to us a little bit about himself and then dove right in to photographers that had inspired him. He started off as a painter and enjoyed making sculptures as well, that is until started working with photography, more specifically: portraits. He then explained some other photographers that really inspired him, such as Nadar, Irving Penn, and Don McCullin. Not only was it clear that Philippe enjoyed these photographers, but he really admired them, something that was apparent from his stories and showing us their work.
Soon after telling us about other photographers, we were lucky enough to see Philippe’s work. This included many portraits he had done. We all were able to look at a book of his (Maison Européenne de la Photographie), along with two put-together, book proposals, and many other pieces he had printed. Along with seeing his work, he explained to us his thought process behind capturing a portrait and some of the decisions he makes while in the dark room developing his photos. Lastly, he showed us the older cameras he has used and how they worked, something that was really quite the sight to see.
Afterwards, we were able to see the studio that he does his work in, and see it being used by some other photographers. He also gathered us in his garden, so that he could take a photo of the group of us.
Following this fascinating morning of class, the group of thirteen girls and one guy did what you might expect from a large group of younger people in a big city: shop. The group split up and was able to explore different parts of the town while shopping at many of the different interesting stores that Paris has to offer.
Later, we all met back at the hostel for dinner. Following dinner, we split into groups again. Some of us went to the Eiffel Tower, while another group went to an outdoor concert, Notre Dame, Shakespeare and Company (a bookstore), ate gelato by the river, and then split again with some returning to the concert and some visiting the Latin Quarter.
In the end, it was a busy day that was exciting for all of us. Each person was able to do different things throughout the day while exploring the city.