Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Amazing the Bard

He would have been amazing, that's for sure, if he could have been magically brought back to life and beamed down to the lovely old library upstairs at Shakespeare & Co. in Paris last Wednesday evening.

Lots of interesting photo enthusiasts showing some lovely pictures and great creativity for as all to enjoy.

Anyone is welcome to come along (even if it is only virtually!), have a glass of fruit juice and some snacks, and show or comment on some interesting shots. We have a little competition where you can win a prize and masses of compliments and then have your winning picture published on the official site of the Paris Shutterbugs - what a great honour!!!

http://photo.meetup.com/419/

Do come along, as it would be lovely to meet some of you in person at last!

Me and the Bard will be waiting for you! Every Wednesday at 8:15 pm at Shakespeare & Co. 37, rue de la Bucherie, 75005 Paris, nearest Metro St. Michel. The bookshop is a real experience too, if you've never been there before - it's legendary!

I'm in the blue shirt, by the way!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

What Daughters Are Good For



What Daughters Are Good For

Scratching awkward itches,
Dragging daisies out of ditches,
Riding scooters dressed as witches,
Little good for...

Running rose-petal juice shops,
Shouting as she skips and hops,
Wearing real pink princess tops,
Little good for...

Doing her belt up in the car,
Telling dads how bald they are,
Chatty phone calls from afar,
Little good for...

Taking two hours for tea,
Snuggly stories next to me,
Ring-finger wishes, sleepily,
Little good for...


Photo 1: Misty on Paris carousel
Photo 2: Mist in the Champs de Mars, having fallen asleep in the queue to go up the Eiffel Tower for the first time, so we didn't... (she has since)

© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2006
http://www.parissetmefree.com

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Handy Andy


Just me and Andy (Roddick) messing around in the Paris metro, a place we both like to hang out quite a lot. I'm in London at the moment, so trawling through the archives and rediscovering some stuff I'd forgotten about which I'm quite fond of. Actually this image which I'm apeing is one of a series in a trendy ad compaign where famous people are doing funny things to advertise Rebok or Adidas or someone. Shows how effective it was, doesn't it?!

A lot of people seem to be against the ads in the metro and everywhere, saying they are brainwashing us and stuff, but another valid point is that they theoretically keep fares down to a reasonable level, and are often quite funny or thought-provoking, as well as often being unbelievably stupid, of course.

© Sab Will / Mystic Rhythms 2005
http://www.mysticrhythms.com

Friday, January 27, 2006

Spastic Bleats, Propounding...

Plastic Sheets
Surrounding me, Protecting
People, Bleeding people Pleading,
For the end of Winter
Café hinterland enclosing
Clingwrapped clichés
Poets prosing
Waiters
Wonder
Bye

S


(to fully understand the searing significance of this piece, you have to realise that as part of the Paris writers group I had a note book thrust under my nose by a certain Nathalia, and was asked to contribute to the dodgy bunch of bandoleer-wielding pen-poking proselytaires that had already left their mark. In a freezing café, outside in the middle of winter... in about five minutes... can you see where I'm coming from now...?)


© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2006
http://www.parissetmefree.com

Section Updated: Walking The Streets
http://www.parissetmefree.com/pictures/quirky/6

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Column Dancer

Is it a bird..?

Is it a plane..?

No! It's just a crazy tourist having fun on one of the wacky "Colonnes de Buren" in the jardin du Palais Royal.

I'd forgotten this photo but I'm rather fond of it, as it was completely spontaneous and un-posed - the girl was actually posing for her mum or someone and I just slipped in there quietly...


© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2006
http://www.parissetmefree.com

Section Updated: Walking The Streets
http://www.parissetmefree.com/pictures/streets/6

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Spam This!

Love some of the shit that gets caught by my spam filter these days, you've just gotta love it...

"Show your feelings with your ever-hard buddy"
This reminded me of this cheeky statue in Pere Lachaise cemetary, having a sly, umm, well, you decide... maybe it's just the photographer who is cheeky, and all you can see is a strictly respectful and upstanding... sword hilt... hmmm...
me and my friend pissed ourselves like 10 year-olds, in any case...

"Last chance for lower rates" (sent 17 times)
Just how many last chances was that...?


"FW: New d1ploma for you"
Got one, thanks...

"What IS 0EM Software And Why D0 You Care?"
A very good question!

"Happy Holidays- You could enjoy a new Canon EOS Digital Camera on us!"
Yep. Sure... and I do need a camera too, so maybe I'll check this one out... not.

"¡»¡»¢~¡¹ ¡¹¢¡¡¹¢¡¡¹¢¡¡»¡»¡»½Ö¯à¯u¥¿¨Æ«e¤£¦¬¶O? §Ú­Ì¿ìªº¨ì! 1.68%¶Uµ¹§A¡»¡»¡»¡»¡»"
I know EXACTLY what you mean...

"Libra: Your creativity breaks the mold"
I'm a Leo... and you can't spell mould, unless you're American, which I don't think is much of an excuse, by the way... ;-)

"Impress her!"
Oh, come on, guys, you don't seriously think that I have any 'shortcomings' in that department, do you..? Who on earth could have told you that... ?


"Attract any woman now"
Look, I thought I just told you...

"Re-finance before rates skyrocket"
Refinance what, exactly? My latest extravagant multiple baguette purchase?

"increase in sexual desire"
Look... how can I put this..?

"ÏÎ ÂÎÏÐÎÑÓ ÂÅÄÅÍÈß ÊÀÄÐÎÂÎÉ ÄÎÊÓÌÅÍÒÀÖÈÈ"
Don't I know you?

"Try this Brand new Razor thin Cell phone"
Why? I have a phone...

"All love enhancers on one portal!"
Tempting, but unlikely...

"!!!!!!!!!À°§A¤ÀªR¦U¤j»È¦æ¶U´Ú±ø¥ó!!!!!!!!!"
I DEFINITELY KNOW YOU!

"No more Mr. Floppy..."
Right, that's IT!!!

And so it goes on...

So this has been Sab and his ever-hard buddy checking out until the next time... ;-)


© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2006
http://www.parissetmefree.com

Section Updated: Walking The Streets
http://www.parissetmefree.com/pictures/quirky/4

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Shady Business


That's a pretty impressive shadow that tree is casting on this appartment block, don't you think?! Especially considering the sun was in completely the wrong direction!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Christmas Is Dead: Long Live Christmas!

Only 335 days till...

OK, Soooooooo... do you wanna tell 'em or shall I?!

"It's January 21st guys... It's 2006! Christmas is HISTORY!"

But I guess with that much investment in the Nordic forestry industry they're probably obliged to keep it up for a month or two, if their awnings don't give up first!

I mean, even the dog's thinking, "What the h***?!"

And check out the guy with the umbrella... I'm not surprised that's necessary, coz if Big Ted's been stuck up there for more than a month, there sure is gonna be some serious fall out expected, and it's wise to take precautions... as our dejected passer-by proves.

"Never go out unprotected, my son!" That's what my mother always used to tell me (blatant lie), and it has served me well...

Sab [;@)]

© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2006
http://www.parissetmefree.com

Section Updated: Walking The Streets
http://www.parissetmefree.com/pictures/streets/6

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Case Closed

Lost my camera yesterday. Mugged. Took my baby. Gone. Ran up behind me. Grabbed the goods. Ran off ahead. Too slow to catch him. Took my baby. Grabbed my heart. Loved that little screen. The one you could turn every which way. And I did. Seen a few things, it had. Let me see things. Helped me see. Closer to me than most people are. I guess I'm glad. He didn't stab me. It's on losing that you realise what you have. I hope he treats you kindly. I'm feeling kind of lost. And I miss my baby.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Think Of Me As You Soar

I saw a pigeon dying today. I was walking home, dying, in fact. Dying for insalubrious things, probably. Happy I had left my camera at home. Nothing to shoot on a grim grey night.

And then I saw him. Lying. Well, sort of half-sitting. Squatting. Swaying. I hate pigeons. I want that to be clear.

He was half-squatting-sitting, or maybe kinda crouching-cowering, I'll have to get back to you on that one.

But his eyes were dipping, half-open, half-shot.

Head limply hanging back on the opposite side of his normally proud strutting breast, now shaking, hanging back on his back, in fact... such a strange sight to behold, and be told, perhaps...

I squatted down, in the gutter, between cars, like a tramp, like a drunk taking a shit, like people I have known have done before, and we shared...

His beady eyes looked and blinked, yet his body wouldn't follow his natural instinct to avoid human contact, our gazes locked, as the by-passers passed by with cries of "Ooh la la, il va mourir, celui là!"

And I THINK they were talking about the pigeon, but the comment would have been valid, in any case...

Bye bye dying pigeon, I said, venturing a finger like a supplication, I caressed his wing, the back of his withering carcass, three times, I said, three times, may you find peace, my fine feathered friend, who has flown much higher, and much more carefree than me, than I, in your mind's eye think of me as you move away, as you flee, as you soar, as you fly...


© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2006
http://www.parissetmefree.com

Section Updated: Walking The Streets
http://www.parissetmefree.com/pictures/streets/6

Friday, January 20, 2006

The Poopaway Tree

What you see above, taken during the "Paris Shutterbugs" last Sunday jaunt on our way from Passage Brady, to Passage Jouffroy, is not in fact emissaries of the Paris town hall paying hommage to our friends the trees, far from it judging by what they do to the poor things.

No, it is in fact the ancient ritual dating back to time immemorial, fondly called "The Purging of the Poo"...

These grills around the city's numerous foliaged friends in fact serve three functions.

Firstly, they allow the green and brown ones to have a bit of earth around them which isn't actually smothered by the hard grey stuff, which must do them some good, I suppose.

Secondly, they offer inattentive rollerbladers, stilletto-staggerers and simple pietons alike the opportunity to shudder, sink or simply skid respectively to a most humiliating rendez-vous with the unforgiving reality known as the pavement (or 'sidewalk' for our North American friends who appreciate the subtle aide-mémoire permitting them to remember to walk on the side of the road, and not right down the middle of it where those fast noisy things go). Clever, innit?

And thirdly, of course, it's the ideal Poopy Pooch Palace! Doggies in all shapes and states of sexual proclivity are furtively led to these handy slip-through canine conveniences where the offending ejections are quickly swallowed up and the mutt and his master go on their way, tails held high and anuses retracted, without a care in the world.

Unfortunately, it falls to our stoic chaps in green here to scrape up the remains from time to time so that the long suffering provider of shade and solace in this cruel city can suck up a vaguely unpolluted intake of earth for once.

As we can see in this pic, however, there are times when our furry friends just don't make it in time... it happens to the best of us.


© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2006
http://www.parissetmefree.com

Section Updated: Walking The Streets
http://www.parissetmefree.com/pictures/streets/6

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Window Glazing

So many things to see... so many hands have spent so much time preparing the perfect display.

So I find myself, window gazing, searching out definitive moments of front shop flair, through hazy arrays, and wondering if I can interact with them in some strange way.

And so I find, echoes of days, evidence of the fingers that placed the figure, that caught the attention, of errant lens, that alerted the guy, who took the shot, then wrote the piece, that you're reading right now. A confection. A connection. Double glazing reflecting perfection.


© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2006
http://www.parissetmefree.com

Section Updated: Behind Bars
http://www.parissetmefree.com/pictures/behind/6

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Yearnings of Yesteryear

The 4th arrondissement of Paris, often referred to as 'le Marais', is one of the richest and most historic in all of the city.

Strolling home last night, I passed one of the most medieval buildings in the area, and snapped it for the 'Behind Bars' section of Paris Set Me Free. It's an awesome, medieval house that you could imagine knights riding up to and flaxen-haired maidens letting their long golden locks down from.

There is indeed a rounded tower on the right, which you can't see very well in this pic but which would suit the purpose admirably... Rapunzel, where are you now..?


© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2006
http://www.parissetmefree.com

Section Updated: Behind Bars
http://www.parissetmefree.com/pictures/behind/6

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Metros Are Funny Places

You can people watch to your heart's content. You can be 'the nutter'.

You can see the classiest, clad in furs and fawnings, who can't quite afford to take a taxi...

You can see the crummiest, grimiest, stinkiest, who can't quite afford to sleep indoors...

It's a microcosm of life, but there are so many reflections... real and imagined.

You can see yourself in others, and you can see yourself, literally, in all those echoes of your life winking back at you through the blackened windows...

Strangely impersonal place, other people are strangers, card-board cut-outs who don't really exist, because they don't know us, and in front of whom we can apply masks, put on make-up, so that real people will think we look beautiful.

Phone calls on the metro connect us to the real world. The world that we know. Underground is not real. It's a passage between worlds. You don't have to impress, because the people you meet there are illusions.

They are not listening. They belong to other worlds. Their worlds outside of these tunnels. Thinking their thoughts, dreaming their dreams. Assailed by incessant adverts like us all, yes, but oblivious. Hoping for tomorrow, or resigned. Who knows?


© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2006
http://www.parissetmefree.com

Section Updated: Free Wheeling

http://www.parissetmefree.com/pictures/transport/6

Monday, January 16, 2006

Things Are Hotting Up!

I hate to mock. I prefer more subtle means... but sometimes you've just got to laugh!

When the French use English words in their shop names, in such sadly failing attempts to appear chic or trendy or avant garde or I don't know what, I really believe they have no idea of the extent to which they fail...

In the same way as shops called 'Madmoiselle' in my local high street back in Enfield, North London, strike me as mind-numbingly naff, boutiques called 'Miss' in the heart of Paris make my stomach feel quite queasy-uneasy.

"Heat Men". Hmmm. Don't know quite what to make of this one...

Is it an incitation? Should we all get our stolen science lab bunsen burners out and start putting the hots up every non-female type we come across?

Or perhaps the message is much more subliminal and our lady friends are supposed to turn us on and then devour us... "Grrrrr", is what I say... indeed.

In any case, hot or not, they're certainly looking to shift product quickly by the looks of things, so enjoy this shot while stocks of steamy guys coming out of sultry boutiques last... ummm, not.

Grim Ironies Reflected

I take the metro every day.

This guy works on the platform every night.

I step over people lying in pools of urine on my way home.

This guy thinks of his wife and kids already sleeping at home alone.

I gaze out of windows wondering what to waste my money on next.

This guy sweeps away drunk's piss in thin channels under glossy ads.

I clean the dirt from under my fingernails after boozy evenings.

This guy scrapes society's filth from under our up-turned noses.

I grip my digital camera tightly.

This guy grasps a stinking brush.

I don't have a wife or kids sleeping at home.

I take photos of guys like this.

And this guy will never know.


© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2005
http://www.parissetmefree.com

Section Updated: Free Wheeling

http://www.parissetmefree.com/pictures/transport/6

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Let The Blog Wars Commence...

The article "Guerre des blogs" (War of the blogs), on the front page of this newspaper which I snapped just round the corner from my place in the 15th reads something as follows:

"In Iran, the fighting between non-believers and followers of Islam has moved into cyberspace. Some 150 bloggers have declared an on-line jihad targetting blogs which don't respect the precepts of the Koran."

This only reflects the fact that information is power these days, and the ability to control it can result in riches, or influence, beyond usual measure.

How many of our thoughts are truly free? None of them. However independent of spirit and soul we might fancy we are, the grim fact is that our thoughts are for making sparrows' nests with, and our bodies are mere puncuations marks in a worm's short sentence of life...

Whatever way she looks at her snazzy new cell phone, that woman ain't gonna see nothin' other than what she wants to see.

And as for the shrinks for Shep (dog psychiatrists), we've had wagging weddings already, in the States, meseems to remember, so that one hardly raises a hackle.

When all's said and done, it has to be said... the world a mighty weird place, folks!

Friday, January 13, 2006

And The Flute Man Cometh...

One of those seminal moments again this evening, in terms of sowing the idea for a shot is concerned.

Rounding a corner approaching the platform in one of those seemingly endless soulless corridors, I was suddenly struck, almost physically, by an angel voice. Before I even reached the source I was reaching rapidly for my camera, hoping.

Was it some wayward, wild-haired wench, or a crazy-eyed fanatical easterner... I honestly had no idea but the harmonies were truly hypnotising.

So imagine my surprise when I see this neat little man, smart pullover and definitely unfanatical-looking white shirt and slacks, sitting humbly, singing his heart out, on a bench in the metro at Cluny La Sorbonne.

Because of the echoing nature of underground stations and his totally static appearance, it actually took me a good few seconds to actually spot him. I'd been looking across the tracks, but he was right next to me!

After the singing he picked up his flute and against the clinical serility of an infinite white tile backdrop more heavenly sounds emanated from this modest-wonder. The closest I can get is a kind of Jewish gypsy folk feeling, but I'm probably way off.

I dropped my euro coin into his case, hoping that would buy me some photos of a slightly more intrusive nature than the usual tourist snap. He barely flinched, seeming to be lost in an almost clerical way in his chosen calling.

Finally, and thankfully the train was as slow coming as usual on my Lazy Line 10, he produced the strangest contraption, a sort of pierced baked bean tin with a stick stuck in it and a couple of strings attached. Greatest apologies to officionadoes, but that's as close as my ignorance allows me to get to a decent description of this weird and wonderful instrument from which, yep, you guessed it, more unearthly intonations sallied forth.

A smile from me promted a nod from him as the train eventually drew in, and with the signal sounding I grabbed my bag and jumped between the closing doors, knowing that once again someone had become a much more important part of my life than he could ever imagine, and I bowed my head in sweet regret as we pulled out of Cluny La Sorbonne, knowing that it had to be that way. Some people are meant to touch others without ever realising how much. If his motives were religious then I hope his god blesses him. And if I'm being naive and he was just doing it for the money, then may somebody's else's god bless him anyway.


© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2005
http://www.parissetmefree.com

Section Updated: Free Wheeling
http://www.parissetmefree.com/pictures/transport/6/

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Women Looking Stupid In Advertising , Pt. 173

Oh yeah, guys... check this one out - Have we got a scoop, or what???

All you have to do is check out their revolutionary new savings plan ( I won't actually mention the bank, out of respect for their dignity, if they have any...) and you can see your savings grow like a girl in a sexy black dress makes your rapidly extending hydrolic lift point skyward...

Oh dear...

Are we that gullible...?

Probably..! By the number of scantily-clad women we still see improbably draped over the bonnets of all sorts of two and four-wheeled transport.

And the funniest thing is that their deal is pathetic!!! Not even worth winking at ;-)

But she is lovely, let's face it... so we'll forgive them, and hope that womanhood does too...


© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2005
http://www.parissetmefree.com

Section Updated: Walking The Streets
http://www.parissetmefree.com/pictures/streets/6/

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Uplifting Experiences

My lift (or elevator, for States-sided folks...) and I have an interesting relationship...

It's not love-love, but it may be love-hate, I'm not sure yet. It's only two years that we've been courting, and it's been a very up and down experience I'm afraid...

Our most intimate moment was when she, and I don't know why I think she's a she..., decided that I should spend an hour with her somewhere above the seventh, and last floor, and announced her intentions with a heart-rending, if not bowel-loosening CRUNCH as we hit those giddy heights...

Much as I'm sure her intentions were pure, it wasn't that comfortable an experience for me, envisaging the seven floors-worth of hole under my feet, and now knowing exactly why and that gut-rumbling crunch actually signified...

Friends would later reassure me with tales of counter-balancing weights and strict security standards, but for some reason I'm not particularly more at ease every time I step into that fickle box.

When she wants to work, she works.

When she doesn't, she doesn't, and there's nothing you can do about it, except open and close the door, assuming it still opens, stab nervously at her mocking buttons, and, well, pray!

If I'm still outside and I can sense that she's out of sorts I just say 'Leave it!' and take the stairs.

I tried to pacify her a few months back, shortly after the shit-under-the-doormat incident, to which I'm sure she wasn't related, by putting some of my photos up in the lift every week.

It was fine for a couple of weeks, but then someone ripped one up, so it was back to boring lift-ride syndrome, coz I'm going to share my stuff just to get it ripped up.

Maybe I should try again though, just to cheer the place up a bit.

I'm not even going to tell you about the day someone pissed all over the conveniently stench-retaining carpeted walls of our communal floor-attainer. Unpleasant, to say the least. As are the worrying little pools of liquid which are often present on the floor when you get in.

Someone either has a leaking bag, a desperate dog, a very runny nose... or worse :-(

So anyway, this post has inspired me to try another posting of my photos to cheer the place up, perhaps with a comments sheet! Daring, no? I'll report back. If you don't try, you'll never know...

Monday, January 09, 2006

Barbie, Like You Ain't Never...

There are a lot of STRANGE little tucked away shops and boutiques in Paris, I can tell you guys...

And this is one of them!

Their thing is this... well, listen...

How can I explain..?

Look, they take these old Barbie dolls and they... well, they...

Ummm...

Rip their heads off and stick their necks up each others' asses...

Oh dear, I knew this wouldn't be easy... umm...

OK, just check out the photos, OK, snatched through a strangely cellophaned grill, hence the dodgy photo quality, but after what they do with Barbie dolls, nothing surprises me any more...

We've got this long procession of decapitated Barbies with their... well, as I said, check out the pictures...

Then there is this grossly hairy one, can you imagine anything queasier than a naked Barbie covered in a thick layer of man hair like a bear??? Bear Barbie??? Pass the sick bag, please!!!

And finally, just from what was visible from the window, we have the latest addition to the family after Anal and Hairy... Spider Barbie!!!

A grotesque concoction of assorted limbs sticking out of an amophous body-thing, it's not for the faint hearted, and certainly not for little girls around seven who are more used to seeing Miss B. astride a pony or gazing into her favourite mirror as she gets her golden locks pampered. Won't be so golden now, I fear, girls...

Well, that's all folks...

Umm, yeah. Normal service will be resumed next posting... I hope...

Metros Are Funny Places

You can people watch to your heart's content. You can be 'the nutter'.

You can see the classiest, clad in furs and fawnings, who can't quite afford to take a taxi...

You can see the crummiest, grimiest, stinkiest, who can't quite afford to sleep indoors...

It's a microcosm of life, but there are so many reflections... real and imagined. You can see yourself in others, and you can see yourself, literally, in all those echoes of your life winking back at you through the blackened windows...

Strangely impersonal place, other people are strangers, card-board cut-outs who don't really exist, because they don't know us, and in front of whom we can apply masks, put on make-up, so that real people with think we look beautiful.

Phone calls on the metro connect us to the real world. The world that we know. Underground is not real. It's a passage between worlds. You don't have to impress, because the people you meet there are illusions.

They are not listening. They belong to other worlds. Their worlds outside of these tunnels. Thinking their thoughts, dreaming their dreams. Assailed by incessant adverts like us all, yes, but oblivious. Hoping for tomorrow, or resigned. Who knows?

Sometimes... I Wonder...

Sometimes...

when I take my pictures...




I wonder who I'm really looking at...

Does that ever happen to you...?


© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2006
http://www.parissetmefree.com

Sunday, January 08, 2006

I Noticed (Time Passing)

I Noticed
(Time Passing)


I was listening
To time passing
Slipping quietly
Past falling feet
And coffee cups
Candles and kisses
Sheets of paper
Shuffled fingers
Dripping shyly
Fleeing slyly
Minutes
Moved
Away

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Graffiti Artist

Hi Folks, and a very happy new 2006! Here's hoping it'll be a great one.

At 10pm I was at home in front of my screen thinking that this would be the first New Year midnight that I would spend on my own for decades...At 3pm I was on the beach at Deauville (trendy seaside escape for posh Parisians) in the cold and rain writing "2006 WILL BE THE YEAR" in the sand. Don't ask why! But I'd call it a damn good sign in any case...

My latest project is to start a photography course linked to the Paris Set Me Free site. I'm just developing the structure at the moment, but be sure that I'll keep you posted one way or another. Also don't forget if you are in the Paris area to come along and meet me and other Paris photo freaks on a Wednesday at 20:15 in the upstairs library at legendary Shakespeare & Company. Check out the Paris Set Me Free web site for details.

And in celebration of the new year, hoping it'll be wonderfully artistic, liberating and fulfilling for everyone, here are some shots of a marvelously positive mural I found up around the Montmartre area just round the corner from famous artists' square and tourist trap, place du Tertre, and Sacré Coeur and its heavenly breast-shaped pimply domes of course, amongst other delights.

But I digress. What I really wanted to draw your attention to, photographically speaking, was the amazing difference changing your position can make when photographing a two-dimensional
subject such as anything painted or stuck on a wall like a poster or advertisement, for example.

All three pictures are, of course, of the same graffiti, or graffito for the puritan Italian scholars amongst you readers out there. But look what happens when you go from face on to way off to the right or left. A radically different composition appears and I would argue a vastly more dynamic result too. It's maybe not quite so obvious here, because the face on shot has the peeling and ripped poster-encrusted door on the right. But this was left in here precisely because without it the shot becomes static and lacking in context and interest.

In the other two off-to-the-side shots, the wild perspectives are the interest, and nothing else is needed to make these very pleasant pictures to look at. In the off-to-the-left shot, the door is actually present, but falls into shadow and doen't detract at all from the main subject, the artist and his easel with the simply painted birds escaping the confines of his canvas and flying off into the distance.

You can use this technique to focus attention on a particular part of the subject which wouldn't be possible otherwise. In one of the shots we are virtually peering over the artist's shoulder, sharing deeply his joy or distress as his birds abandon him for the great bricked yonder. In the other angled shot the canvas and the act of painting seem to be more important, and in this one I have less a sense that the artist is recoiling in horror with his up-thrown hand and more one of simply waving goodbye as if seeing off a friend at a train station.

I believe I used flash here but I can't remember exactly, but in any case, if I did there's also a lesson to be learned about how quickly it loses its effectiveness as the distance increases, as seen in the angled shots. This can be a blessing or a curse, depending on whether you want the further away things to disappear or still be well illuminated. Here I feel the effect works very well, adding brightness to the already relatively larger subject to focus attention where it's wanted.

Again, a very happy new year to all Paris Set Me Free readers, wishing you lots of productive snapping over the months ahead!


© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2006
http://www.parissetmefree.com

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