It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood…

The best thing about having our hostel where it is, is that we’re in the middle of all the hustle and bustle!!

This morning half the group met with Howard and the others with Darcy to talk about our prospective projects for Paris.  Having two professors at once definitely speeds up the process!!  We started off as a group at 11 by going around the block to a nearby photography exhibit (Maison Europeenne de la Photographie ville de Paris).  The building housed 4 different photographers’ exhibits.  My personal favorite was Ferrante Ferranti’s work.  Because the museum doesn’t allow photography, I scribbled in my notebook each time I saw a photograph that I liked.

The following images were side-by-side but not put together as a triptych, they only happened to be next to each other and draw my attention to them.  The first image was Ferranti’s Pelerin musulman, sanctuaire de Cheikh Hussein, 2008.  The man seems almost phantom-like with what looks to be dust on his skin, and is juxtaposed against a bright blue sky and green and white tent.  The difference in colors draws your attention to the image at hand.  Next to this piece was a man who kneeled on the ground giving praise toward the photograph’s upper right corner (Imam en priere, mosque de Vendredi, 2009.  We as the viewer are looking at the man from his right side, but the man himself isn’t what drew me to the image.  It was instead the walls of the room he was in.  The photo almost seemed to be back light somehow or like the walls were illuminated when the photograph was taken.  The bright sunlight on the geometric walls light up the man in his praying/worshiping state and bring your attention to him instead of taking away from him.  With each of these images the colors became less obvious.  The second picture had natural daylight as the overall color tone, while the final image (Repas du moine Kukai, temple aux milles lampes, 2011) would appear as black and white if it were not for the monks set in the background of the image robed in orange.  The snow on their surroundings and the lack of color create a solemn feeling.  This only grows as you begin to wonder what it is they’re carrying between them – perhaps a coffin.  The lack of color draws you to their slow and solemn actions of carrying the box up the stone stairs. While the photographs in Ferranti’s first room were all in color, his second room was filled with black and white/less colorful photos.

In this second exhibition I had three favorite images; the first was a diptych (Palmeraie de Tozeur, 1995 & Le Khasneh, 1995) which allowed us to see similarities in the lighting patterns and natural shapes within the photographs (the sun through the trees versus the natural curve of stone/mountain walls).  As well, both images have human figures silhouetted against the sunlight cascading through the natural blockades (trees/stone).  The shadow in the trees first appears human, but then after looking closer it is seen to be a person riding on the back of a pack mule/donkey.  These lonesome figures also allow a connection to be made between both pieces – they draw your attention from the figure, to the well-lit foreground, and back again. The third image I stared at continuously was Piscina Mirabills, 2010.  When you first entered the hall you might think it’s watercolor and not a captured image.  The light and dark variations of the arches draw the eye through the photo to the back doorway draped with ivy.  The texture of the stones is not so smooth as to be boring and is not so rough as to detract from the coloring of the stones that comes naturally with age.  I definitely enjoyed starting the day off with these photography exhibits.

Following the exhibits we went to a traditional French sidewalk cafe for lunch.  We had the best time at Royal Turenne and our waiter was great!

With waiter after the lunch at the "Brasserie Traditionnelle"

With waiter after the lunch at the “Brasserie Traditionnelle”

After lunch, even though we were all full, we had room for gelato!! Then we were on our own.

Some of us wandered off to find a camera store where they sell toy cameras.  Andrea and Lizzy both bought cameras and Marisol found some film that fit her camera that she bought in Prague!!!

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Dylan and Marisol figuring out how to put the film in the camera.

Everyone was pretty excited after that – like kids on Christmas.  At 8 we went on an hour long boat cruise on the Sienne.  It was beautiful and lots of pictures were taken!!

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The Eiffel Tower from the Seine

Overall, today was yet another wonderful day in Paris!  This weekend there aren’t any trips going on out of the city, but I’m sure we’ll be busy!! Perhaps going to the Louvre, the big market on Sunday, and who knows what else will be in store for us!

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