Saturday, September 29, 2007

Self - Booking It

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2007 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free

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Flag Flying

Flag flying? Not really. African American woman's second trip to Paris, enjoying it pas mal!!! Shame about the shoddy service - I promise you it's not always like that! Some waiters just wanna be jerks.

Good to have you here, D!
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2007 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free

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Smoky Call Me

This shot is great, and do you know why? Because it came about by pure and UTTER chance. Nothing planned, nothing expected, and in fact the circumstances were rather negative!

I was giving a photo tour to my new photographer-friend Denise, and it was CHUCKING IT DOWN (raining like hell)! Not the ideal circumstances for a creative photo tour of Paris, you might be saying to yourselves... but Ah Hahhhhh! Given the enthusiasm and good spirit of a friendly soul such as Denise miracles can be performed!

The best photos always come about by chance. (You can quote me on that.) The only variables are: a) did you spot the opportunity, and b) did you have your camera with you?!!!

If you want to compare this with Denise's version you can go here! We were there!
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2007 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free

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Self - Regarde Moi

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2007 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free

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Nekkid Pussy

Have you seen all the naked pussy in the metro at the moment? It's unbelieeeeevvvable!

Disconcerting. Only the French could do it, of course. But still. Destabilizing...

Here's the scenario - a poster with a naked (yes, really) cat, staring but really STARING at you, all the while displaying it's naked balls and anus... hey, listen, this is what we are encountering every day in the Parisian Metro, so don't point fingers at me, ok?!!!

Personally, from an artistic point of view, I love it. I don't care what they put up there (within limits, of course) as long as it stimulates. And this does.

Although a cat's anus is probably not the first thing I would have used to advertise whatever (brave decision) but the photo itself is superb! I'm more of the get-the-hell-outta-there brigade (see running-with-suitcase man in pic - it could have been me!).
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2007 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free

If you like this blog, you might appreciate this..!
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Friday, September 28, 2007

Bercy Hike

Ahhh, students. Doncha jus' luvvem? Recognise the building? A very famous one in Paris I'll have you know. It's the striking Bercy happening place where they have all sorts of weird and wonderful events from show jumping to skateboarding and ski jumping plus the odd concert or two I believe.

Anyway, this edifice's main distinguishing characteristic is that someone had the bright idea to cover its steep external walls with... grass. Go figure (love that American expression!), if you will.

So, 'see hill will climb' being some people's motto, it must be rather tempting for adventurous souls, hence this brave scaling by three giggling girls of a Sunday afternoon.

Personally, I don't think I'd have made the attempt, being more of the timorous sort, preferring to let my lens do the mounting while my feet remain firmly rooted to terra firma.

(Artistic Considerations): This grassy slope is actually damn steep, and so a useful device to illustrate this, to 'heighten' the tension, if you like, is to slightly modify the proportions to make the whole shot rather tall and narrow.

The grassy area is framed by the concrete at the bottom (which grounds the image) and the airier blue metalic structure at the top. It's a nice coincidence, if it is a coincidence, that the pointed blue metal at the top can represent the summit for which the intrepid youngsters are striving.

A nice diagonal effect completes the composition, both in the sweeping grass and the positions of the top girl and her two trailing companions.

P.S. She made it.
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2007 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Waiting At The Bike Stop

Hey! New Parisian pastime. Forget the bus that never comes... now we have the sadly forlorn bikestop, denuded of vélos by virtuous demoiselles, leaving the unlucky to linger... and wait.

(Techy note: I wasn't able to throw the background out of focus in the heat of the moment and it was also far too bright and busy and interfered with the girl and weakened the strong foreground composition, but obviously couldn't be cut out. So I used a bit of post-processing magic (not very expertly, I might add) to both fuzz up and tone down all those nasty sharp bright people and green litter bags and crystal clear writing and stuff and bring the focus (of attention!) back to its rightful place - the girl waiting at the bikestop!)
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2007 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free

If you like this blog, you might appreciate this..!
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Flower Power

(Just for fun... how many contrasts can you see in this image - I'm a great fan of contrasts. My answer below.)

I like this image, taken during the Parc de Bercy (and Paris') 'Gardens' event which involved installing gardeny type exhibits in some unusual places, along with funny red watering cans which served as welcoming offices and which have already featured on the PSMF blog.

In terms of composition it is sslllliiggghhhttttlllyyyy askew, in that there is perhaps a little to much gap between the two flowers, but apart from that not too much worries me. The big flower could have been lower, but that would have meant reducing its size, and it's massive size, particularly in contrast to the smaller one (there for that purpose?!) is one of the nice things about the pic.

In any case, the violent yellow, which isn't really mellow and I'd already used that title, contrasts beautifully with the two tones of sombre, fuzzy green behind.

And all of this was done hand-held with the flowers swaying slightly so obviously a fast shutter speed was useful.

Here are all the contrasts I found in this pic - did you see any others?

yellow and green
bright and dull
sharp and fuzzy
big and small
near and far
spread out and curled up
smooth and spiky
immature and mature
short and long
bottom left and top right
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2007 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free

If you like this blog, you might appreciate this..!
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Monday, September 24, 2007

Harp Kid

This was a bit spooky. Just as I was lining up the loungers with the weird statue up pops this little tyke in the bottom right playing a mouth organ! It reminded me of something unsettling out of a spaghetti western or that Levi's advert where the whole town is following the cortege for the burial of a pair of old jeans to Screamin' Jay Hawkins singing Tom Waits 'Heart Attack and Vine' - superb!

Photographic lesson? Never ever take your finger of that trigger, and if it looks good, shoot first and ask questions later!
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2007 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free

If you like this blog, you might appreciate this..!
Paris Set Me Free - The Ultimate Paris Photography Website

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Self - Leaves


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2007 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free

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Wonderella

This is an enigmatic image (or at least I'd like to think it is) of a girl in a gale, or at least feeling somewhat soggy...

I've played with the settings after the facts (i.e. in the computer) but the basic premise was sound, and in fact it was quite tricky, because just after this shot she saw me and didn't particularly like the fact I was snapping her.

The need for the umbrella is echoed in the reflections in the wet road stretching out behind her, and her glum expression tells us that it is, in fact, raining.

A final couple of technical points: I've bumped up the colour of the girl (and her umbrella, of course) whilst black-and-whiting the background to bring her out as the subject, with of course the background being fuzzy... Her expression could be better, but you can't have everything!
_______________________________
2007 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free

If you like this blog, you might appreciate this..!
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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Kick This

Here we're in the rather austere Maison de la Chimie in the somewhat snotty seventh district of Paris, and what do we have? A black buy smacking the hell out of a piece of wood held by a spiky Asian dude, under the steady gazes of a young French boy and a jaw-dropped old French boy. Quite a scene.

It was all part of an associations open day - Paris is really BIG on associations, and you can do practically anything you like through them once you've got the official nod. Well, you have to keep it all above board, you understand. But they're a great way to get something going for the community and lots of people have taken the initiative for all sorts of things.

I'm going to give some English and photography courses through the Association Ste. Agnès, which is one of the oldest associations in the city, at the end of an idyllic little lane behind an anonymous double door in a street in the 7th district. A great discovery and I must take some pics of it some day.
_______________________________
2007 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free

If you like this blog, you might appreciate this..!
Paris Set Me Free - The Ultimate Paris Photography Website

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Hotch Potch English - The Unique English Language Site for French Speakers

Moon Gazer

This just fell out of the sky...

Moon Shadows Children

Moon over windows
Man over wonders
Mad ever wenders
Moon man mad

Shiny windows whimper
Slinky whispers simper
Shadows wily linger
Shiny slinky shadows

Chilly chimneys jitter
Churlish lovers judder
Children churning mutter
Chilly churlish children

Man ever wonders
Shiny whispers linger
Chilly lovers jitter
Moon shadows children
_______________________________
2007 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free

If you like this blog, you might appreciate this..!
Paris Set Me Free - The Ultimate Paris Photography Website

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Self - Kiss Off

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2007 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free

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Patriotism Rules, FR


Patriotism is as widespread in France as anywhere, and it'll certainly be on display tonight, as the French rugby team must win tonight to stay in their own world cup. They're up against Ireland who aren't the worst team in the world so it should be interesting.

We're currently witnessing the birth of a media megastar. Sebastien Chabal is a monster to look at but apparently a gentle giant in real life. Whatever the case, the papers can't get enough of him. It's a real orgy of attention and he was on the front page of two of the three free newspapers I picked up today to give you an idea.

It's true he's impressive to look at - long wild hair, a big black beard and a stature around the size of a mature oak... I'll try and create something with an image of him at some point.
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2007 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free

If you like this blog, you might appreciate this..!
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Blind To It All

The photo has to speak to you in this case.
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2007 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free

If you like this blog, you might appreciate this..!
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Self - What The F*** ?

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2007 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free

If you like this blog, you might appreciate this..!
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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Toilet Training

Talking of toilets (which we were, if you've been paying attention..), this guy's destroying one.

We're at La Défense, the business district on the west of Paris named after the brave defense of the city for one of the world wars - oops, forgotten which one.

And it's the sort of shot you could NEVER EVER plan! You're hurrying past on your way to work with the rest of the rats, and lo and behold, there's a laddie smashing the hell out of a public convenience!

No doubt he has some sort of authority to do so, because it's not exactly standard behavour, except during riots in dodgy quarters, but it's still arresting!

I cropped the shot a lot, because, as it was taken on the fly, there was a lot of extraneous 'noise' clogging up the scene. In a situation like this, where you have a great 'happening' but a lot of other stuff going on which could detract from the image, you have to crop. Sometimes you can't even 'see' the image until you start cropping in your mind's eye and you have to do that to whenever you look at an image.

P.S. This might be the answer to my conundrum:

"The name défense originates from the monument 'La Défense de Paris', which was erected at this site in 1883 to commemorate the war of 1870." Apparently. Actually, the statue is there now - I saw it the other day, a bit down from the Grande Arche.
_______________________________
2007 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free

If you like this blog, you might appreciate this..!
Paris Set Me Free - The Ultimate Paris Photography Website

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Uncover Up


Photographically speaking this Gay Pride image is really interesting.

For a start, that cluster of faces with everyone looking in different directions with contrasting emotions reminds me of one of those gruesome middle-age paintings by Bruegel the Elder or someone.

But what's really interesting is the interaction of the characters. The girl's oblivious to the others, lost in her chant. The guy in the background with his mouth open seems to be taking part in the same chant and is obviously sharing her feelings completely. He also seems to be experiencing a lot of pleasure in this girl's open display of insolent liberty.

The guy in the blue jacket behind her is clearly part of the parade, but has a less ecstatic expression on his face and it's interesting to wonder what he thinks of his fellow marcher.

Finally the dude on the left completes this pleasing unparallelagram of heads. If the guy with the shades is clearly on the same wavelength as the girl, the chap on the left may be sharing what other intrigued on-lookers, such as the photographer, are thinking. This creates a link with the viewer of the photo, who can then place themselves more easily inside the frame and thus experience the moment even more viscerally.

Obviously all of these expressions came together by pure chance and I certainly couldn't have orchestrated them. The point to take from this is that when going through your photos after a shoot these are the sort of elements to look for amongst the tens or hundreds of so-so shots to spot a potential classic.
_______________________________
2007 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free

If you like this blog, you might appreciate this..!
Paris Set Me Free - The Ultimate Paris Photography Website

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Lost Cat

That's a shame. I've often read poetry in the little library upstairs at Shakespeare & Company, and I did photo workshops for a few months a year or so back, and there where a couple of lovely little cats, including this cute black one. He was even a stunning star of a previous photo - I'll see if I can find it. I do hope he comes back. He was such a wonderful feature of a wonderful bookshop, and would plonk himself wheresoever he saw fit, often including all over the front desk or the till! Come back blacky...
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2007 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free

If you like this blog, you might appreciate this..!
Paris Set Me Free - The Ultimate Paris Photography Website

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Pissed Again

This is, as far as I know, the last remaining pissoire, or public toilet open to the elements in Paris. There are modern concrete boxes now but this is the real McCoy, still proving functional if not secluded today, as this photo proves.

The design is striking and the odour even more so. The chunky pipes and cast iron decorations (I say, not having the slightest idea if it's cast iron) are a delight to the eye - I'll show you more in another posting.

This is more of a reportage shot than an artistic one, but the fact that someone is actually using the thing adds immeasurably to the shot.
_______________________________
2007 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free

If you like this blog, you might appreciate this..!
Paris Set Me Free - The Ultimate Paris Photography Website

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Thru My Lens

Little poem for ya...

Thru My Lens

Thru my zappy big zoom lens
I see people sitting sighing
I spy inspiration dying
But they don't see me

And thru my funky fish-eye lens
Horizons holding up the sky
Line up to bid the sun goodbye
But they don't see me

And thru my murky macro lens
Petals fall and lashes flutter
Babies bawl and old lips mutter
And they don't see me

But through my misty mirror lens
I see someone reading something
Into every little dumb thing
But I don't see me
_______________________________
2007 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free

If you like this blog, you might appreciate this..!
Paris Set Me Free - The Ultimate Paris Photography Website

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Whirly Coeur

Taken from the steps of Sacré Coeur, we are looking across the amassed roofs of Paris through the trees on the hill, listening to buskers singing lame versions of Simon & Garfunkel songs in the September twilight.

It's an experimental, rather abstract shot, which you should try from time to time, in this case obtained by... did you guess... twisting the camera around the lens' axis while pressing the shutter release.

The leaves on the overhanging boughs have become beautifully drippy and although the horizon isn't exactly horizontal, it doesn't matter too much and the intriguing mass of lights conjures up images of fairy tale cities and magical kingdoms. Err, doesn't it?! Play around.
_______________________________
2007 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free

If you like this blog, you might appreciate this..!
Paris Set Me Free - The Ultimate Paris Photography Website

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Hands Up

The overall lightness of this shot has a tendency to make the camera shut down and not let enough light in, so the whites turn out muddy grey - one to watch out for. I had to bump up the white point after on the computer and my later treatment darkened things down again, but it's ok.

What I really like about this shot is the corners jutting into the shot all around the funny guy on the wall. Lovely sharp lines with really the only thing which isn't linear being the guy. Quite striking really.
_______________________________
2007 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free

If you like this blog, you might appreciate this..!
Paris Set Me Free - The Ultimate Paris Photography Website

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Evil Eyes

Cats. Ahh, what poet couldn't write a book or an entire reference library about these enigmatic creatures..? Hey, come to think of it, I wrote one once. Wanna hear it? Oh, ok then. Another time maybe...!

OH! Something very strange just happened. My poem, which is not currently on a web site, but has been in the past, just popped up when I typed 'A Cat Adopted Me Today' just out of mad curiosity. Lo and behold what should I find but my poem on someone else's cat site! Update dated August 2007, and my poem hasn't even been on one of my sites for a few months!

Go here if you want to read it: http://www.pandecats.com/x/cat-adopted-me-today.shtml
but you'd better hurry because I'm going to ask them why they used it without providing a link back somewhere!

Anyway, I've rather got distracted from the topic of cats and photography, so my discourse shall have to wait for another day. Which will come, I promise you. You've gotta love 'em, those sly linx!
_______________________________
2007 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free

If you like this blog, you might appreciate this..!
Paris Set Me Free - The Ultimate Paris Photography Website

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Friday, September 07, 2007

Voyeur in the Wagon

The metro must be one of the best places to people-watch in the world. You can get up really close to people without any particular reason and any time they're not looking at you you can look at them - perfect!

Taking pictures of them is quite a different thing and you have to be pretty sneaky sometimes if you're not to get yourself into trouble...

By the way, for any of you who live in Paris or the surrounding area, I'm running a two-hour photography course on Monday evenings this year and any of you would be more than welcome.

It costs €250 per trimester (which is about ten two-hour sessions) but I might consider a discount for you, dear reader, if you say you're a fan of my Paris photo blog!
_______________________________
2007 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free

If you like this blog, you might appreciate this..!
Paris Set Me Free - The Ultimate Paris Photography Website

And I also look after...
Hotch Potch English - The Unique English Language Site for French Speakers

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Metro Retro

Every now and again you tumble into cliché... and there's NOTHING WRONG with cliché, photographically speaking... as long as you can navigate your own course through it...

This is a classic Parisian landmark, although they are in surprisingly rapid retreat - there's only about three left!

We should do everything we can to save those lovely Art Nouveau Metro Stations Entrances...

OK ?

_______________________________
2007 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free

If you like this blog, you might appreciate this..!
Paris Set Me Free - The Ultimate Paris Photography Website

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

Strange Birds

This shot was a complete surprise to me when I finally got round to seeing what had tumbled into my camera the day after. I'd been wandering around and the lens open and clicking from time to time. I recommend it at a technique because when you're hurrying in the metro or whatever people generally don't think you're taking a photo and if you keep your gaze ahead of you they will never realise that their perky perm has been captured for freak fans forever!
_______________________________
2007 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free

If you like this blog, you might appreciate this..!
Paris Set Me Free - The Ultimate Paris Photography Website

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Hotch Potch English - The Unique English Language Site for French Speakers

Crap Stats

I'm publishing this picture for posterity. This is, without a shadow of a doubt, the crappest statue I have ever seen in Paris. For some reason, someone, somehow decided that it was worth (dis)gracing the Parc Monsouris with this abomination. Every time I run past it (because I run in this park, but you'd be forgiven for thinking I wanted to escape this thing) I marvel at its crapness.

Unless this is a faithful representation of someone from a parallel universe where people are almost human, but - not - quite, this is a disaster on anybody's terms.

I haven't actually researched the piece, so maybe I've just cruelly destroyed some brave armless, foot-sculpting survivor or denegrated the only remaining representation of a modern day saint created by her alcoholic 5 year-old son, but somehow I doubt it.

Sorry if your sensibilities have been seared by this posting as much as mine have been battered by this excuse for a sculpture. Better days are coming...
_______________________________
2007 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free

If you like this blog, you might appreciate this..!
Paris Set Me Free - The Ultimate Paris Photography Website

And I also look after...
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