Our first couple days in London have been a whirlwind of activity. From museums to Buckingham Palace to comedy shows, there has definitely been no lack of activity. However, I must say that there is one event in particular that takes the cake….Stonehenge. Surviving through a 15-hour day trip on two hours of sleep has never been as appealing as it was that day. I can’t help, but to keep admiring my photos. Not out of narcissism, but out of great appreciation for what I was able to experience. It was such a blessing to be able to observe one of nature’s greatest mysteries.
Today, was the last of the days we know all too well…travel day. The dreaded early morning hikes with pounds of luggage accompanied by miscommunication and disorganization will not be missed. However, our arrival to London quickly made up for the morning. It also helped that we had a saint with us 🙂
We were all pleasantly surprised to be driven on the “wrong” side of the road and to hear the pleasant ring of British accents filling the air.
After orientation and some R&R, we decided to treat ourselves to a traditional British meal of fish and chips. I must say, a cod fillet has never tasted so good. Thanks to North Sea Fish, I’ll always have a back-up meal option waiting for me.
Also, Lizzie gets a special mention in this post for expanding her horizons and trying new food. So, kudos to Lizzie!
To end the night, a group of us found a decent spot to sit and enjoy our meals as dusk fell. I’ve only been in London for a short time, but I’m thoroughly enjoying the easy-going vibe of such a big city. So, excited to see what else this city has to offer! Cheers!
It’s hard to believe that we’ve been in Paris for a week now. The thought of last Tuesday seems like so long ago, but the reality of a week feels more like a few days. It’s been such a privilege to be welcomed into the homes of amazing photographers. I find it much more intimate and special to experience the artist and their work simultaneously. I’ve especially enjoyed witnessing the connection between the photographers and their wives. It inspired me to focus on the elder generation in Paris for my concept. I’ve found their generation to be quite different than the elder generation in America. Their vivacity and sense of style seems almost unparalleled to the same generation back home.
Jim Casper and his wife Millie Cashdollar (who has just as much charisma as her name) were a perfect start to our Paris lecture series. We spent a lot of time talking about spectacle photography versus activist photography and Jim’s online magazine LensCulture. We learned plenty about photo communication, but I think most of us were more interested in Jim & Millie themselves. When we found out that we were going to a lecture, none of us expected to enter an apartment with more photography books than the campus library and a surround sound system blasting The Who. Or, to hear about how tired Jim was after dancing till 3 in the morning. My only regret is that I was so captivated by their personalities that I failed to capture those moments. I guess that’s the small price to pay for living in the moment instead of staring into my viewfinder.
As the week continued, we gained photography tips and words of wisdom from Phillippe Vermés, his wife, Nancy and Gilles Perrin with his wife, Nicole. Both couples had such eclectic homes and unique lifestyles. It was great to experience them. They made this week’s project so enjoyable for me.
The work of fashion great Guy Bourdin was my favorite exhibition in Arles. I found his photos for French Vogue and numerous big names in high fashion to be extremely creative, energetic and well-thought out. His photos really captured the exciting aura of the fashion world throughout the mid-twentieth century. I love his use of color and lighting within his photo story entitled “A Message For You.”
My favorite photo in the exhibition was an image of a model in a slip and silk robe running through an apartment as if she were getting ready in a hurry. The best part of the photo was the metal chair in front of her that cast an amazing light into the camera along with the deepest shadows. The contrast captured in this photograph is amazing. Even though the model exuded 70’s glamour with voluminous waves and candy red lips, something about the aluminum chair brought even more allure to the photo in my opinion. I think this also speaks volumes about the time period. The hair was bigger, the pant legs were wider and the jewelry even brighter. Bourdin painted a perfect picture of what French fashion meant in that time period.
Above all, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Bourdin’s lesser known works. It was great to see the modest beginnings of a legend. From his photos of landscapes to portraits of artists and friends, I found hope and encouragement. It inspired me and shed light on all the possibilities I have in the world of photography.
I found the tragic love story between Jacques Lartigue and Bibi very intriguing. It starts out with the lives of Jacques and Bibi as newlyweds and slowly unveils Jacques infidelity and Bibi’s displacement within their relationship. This exhibit was unlike any of the others I’d seen because it was a fluid, singular story and a very intimate one at that. I enjoyed that this exhibition had a clear beginning, middle and end versus a display of various works over a time period. The continuity and vulnerability of this exhibition made it easy to connect with as a viewer.
From a technical standpoint, I loved that the photos were black and white. Although this was the only option during this time, I feel that the raw black and white images helped reveal the expressions and emotions portrayed in the images. It was easy to see Bibi slowly fade into the background as the photo story moved along.
My favorite photo was the very last one displayed largely on a grey wall all to itself. It was a hazy photo of Bibi swimming alone in a large body of water. A quote from Lartigue was written above wising Bibi the best. This photo is my favorite because it shows the harsh reality of this love story. It’s almost as if Bibi was swimming away from Jacques and the grain in the photo plus the massive body of water show the unsettling certainty and uncertainty of love. The possibilities are endless in that last photo, but struggle is inevitable.
It’s day two in Arles and it all feels so surreal. Each night we’ve fallen asleep to a live concert across the street and each morning we wake up to the soft hustle and bustle of french locals leisurely starting their day.
The start of today was extra special however, because it was Marisol’s birthday! After consultations, Darcy and Jim brought a chocolate cake and clearly Marisol decided to share.
Arles is such a great contrast from Prague because the atmosphere much calmer and it feels more like a “vacation.” Today felt like the most relaxing day abroad so far. Most of us slept in and spent the day shooting for our concepts. We had such a great time modeling for each other and people watching at the fountain.
To end the day, we all went out for kebabs to celebrate the birthday girl. Feliz cumple Marisol!
Thousands of steps, hundreds of photos and a goulash later, tonight is our final night in Prague. It’s strange to think that a city so original and so far away could become a place called home. Even stranger still that we’ve become accustomed to our newfound way of life here.
I never expected to have such an attachment to Prague’s copper-toned rooftops, candy-colored castles and cobblestone streets. This city, though full of tradition and rich history, also has an extremely youthful vibe. Crowds of young adults can be seen and heard all throughout the night as they roam past castles and cathedrals hundreds of years old. Sprinklings of graffiti decorate medieval style wooden doors and traditional czech restaurants are hidden between commercial food joints. Everywhere you look you encounter the perfect combination of modernism and tradition.
It has been such a unique experience these past eight days and I can’t help, but think about how much I’ll miss the scent of klobásas, the constant temptation of gelato and the long walks through the Czech streets to class. And, it’s safe to say that I’ll miss hearing the war of consonants that is the Czech language shouted from the mouths of locals until 6 in the morning. So, for now, it’s “rozloučení.” Farewell to Prague as we start phase 2 of our journey. I’m so thankful to be granted moments I’ll never forget.