As evidenced by my previous blog and its name I always intended to write a second part to my blog on France. I have been waiting on getting my negatives back from the films I shot there and they arrived late last week. Much of what I wrote previously focused on the changing political landscape in France and, boy! - have things changed since then, but enough about that.
There is an amazing charm about France that I seem to have become enchanted by. Paris is a beautiful city. There is a nostalgic feel about it that seems odd to somebody who has only started visiting over the last 6 or 7 years. In a sense, I feel that I have known it my whole life and that each return is a homecoming of sorts. I don't know the city well at all so I cannot explain this sense of familiarity, nor do I believe it stems from the prevalent photographs of the city and its tourist attractions. It is something unknown to me. Outside of Paris, the French countryside is amazingly beautiful and I hope that I have more opportunities to explore and wander through that countryside as time goes by.
Paris is the City of Light. What is interesting is that this name is attributed to a number of other cities in the world including Venice which also has a special place in my heart. My travels also take me to Geneva and although I haven't visited Switzerland as much as I would like, I do feel a resonance with what I have seen of it so far.
All of these places are of course European and have considerable history attaching to them. You can feel that when you are there and I wonder how I would feel about other historical cities given the chance to travel to them. I have never been to Asia or the Americas although I have travelled to the Middle East and around other European countries. Many landscape photographers talk about Iceland as a 'must-do' jurisdiction but I have begun to wonder about this. I am constantly looking for something different to photograph and this is challenging. There is nothing new under the sun so how does one achieve this? What is the point in going to Iceland to stand in the same spot as thousands before you and take what will essentially be the same photograph?
In the same vein - why take a camera to Paris and why take a photograph of the Eiffel Tower. When my earlier photograph of the Eiffel Tower circulated on social media it was commented on by a young and aspiring photographer who remarked that he would never think of taking a photograph of the Eiffel Tower from the angle that I took mine. He thought it was very clever and very beautiful (his words, not mine). In fact he had been in Paris over the last few months and returned with the same photographs as 'everybody else'. I understand the need to have a stock photograph of a famous landmark. I am guilty of this myself. Despite this, I am always looking for something slightly different and that is what I have encouraged this young chap to do. How will you ever get recognition for your work if it does not stand out from the crowd?
This blog carries one piece of advice therefore: do something different. Look for something new. Use your inspirational guides to direct you along the path but do not be afraid to leave that path and search for something unique. Even in the City of Light you may find your own way.