I can’t say that I’ve really had one single bad day on the entire trip so far. I think that I would just feel guilty wasting even one second of this incredible experience by getting hung up on any negative thoughts. That being said, if there has been one day that may have tested my attempts at a perfect score for my travels, today might have been it. But overall, I still feel like I always end up on top. I’m in Paris after all.
We started off our day with a short walk to a classroom where we got to listen to Nigel Dickinson, a documentary photographer who has worked all around the globe. I specifically remembered his name because a student in one of my photojournalism classes at Michigan State did an artist presentation on him. It’s sort of amazing that on this trip we have had countless opportunities to talk one-on-one with famous and well-established photographers that, surprisingly, have found time to pass on some knowledge to us.
Nigel showed us a huge catalogue of his work that included photos of Roma Gypsy ceremonies, road protests in the U.K, disturbing photos of the animal and meat industry, and even commercial sculpture photos for one of the most famous architects in Mexico. In addition to sharing his incredible work with us, he also gave us all an open invitation to send our work to him for critique at any time. So now the 14 of us can have a Vogue-published photographer check out our work whenever we want. Not too bad.
After a lunch break, we all rode the metro to see an exhibit at the Jeu De Paume museum, but got caught in the worst weather we’ve seen so far. The group that I was with got stuck in the Tuileries gardens during a torrential downpour and thunderstorm. After huddling under a tree for a half hour, we eventually trekked across the newly flooded grounds to the metro stop while we waited for the rest of the group to gather. Upon entering the museum, I thought I had made it out mostly unscathed, but opening my backpack up to find my DSLR camera sitting in a pool of water was not a welcome sight. This also explains why I have no photos on the blog today. So if anyone has any, feel free to add some!
Everyone immediately helped me out with my soggy gear, and the camera and battery are currently sitting across from me in a bag of rice, desperately trying to have the moisture sucked out of them. The future of this particular camera is uncertain, but I’ve decided that no matter what happens, I’m going to continue to have a totally awesome time; because really, what other choice is there?
Bad news aside, the exhibit at the Jeu De Paume was fantastic. Lorna Simpson and Ahlam Shibli were the primary photographers at the show, both excellent and extremely different. Simpson works mostly with self-portraits and supplementary text to create narratives and critiques on identity and gender, while Shibli primarily works in black and white documentary style, exploring life in Palestine.
The rest of the day was mostly relaxing, despite being our last day to shoot, and pretty much made up for any previous water-related unpleasantness. We ate a lot of pastries, went down to the river, walked around the Latin Quarter, and enjoyed another night in the big city. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I just plan on having an amazing time while I can.