Sunday, July 18, 2010

Paris - Saturday Morning

Le Faubourg St. Antoine behind the Bastille....the Marche Aligre.  A Saturday morning in Paris may look very much like a Saturday morning where you are.

But then again, it might not look like your part of the world at all!  (Do you get fresh fuzzy almonds at your market?)

Oldish guys with crutches.  Maybe?

Nice arab ladies with cheerful green trollies?  You tell me.

Stylish females with the very latest in flashy footwear?

Ladies who bought too much, packing and unpacking?  Or who made the fatal mistake of putting their wallet at the BOTTOM of the grocery trolley?  (Something I have to admit, I would do!)

We don't seem to do this so much in the U.S., the sensible cutting up of squash so you need only buy enough for your own family, versus taking home a giant specimen for the WHOLE NEIGHBORHOOD!

Does your market have cheery red baskets to weigh your fruit in?

Do your fellow shoppers look like (slightly severe) models......

 or goddesses?

This is reminding me I should really refine my street snapping style.  At this point I am only visualizing that iconic look of the photographer in the khaki jacket with all the pockets for his/her lenses and the big sunglasses pushed up onto the top of the head.

Should I be dressing with flair, or going very incognito and unremarkable so as to draw less attention to myself?  I feel I should do as I did in India - prepare ahead with pockets full of pens and stickers, to hand out to my subjects, and little cards, thanking them for letting me steal their souls and post them on the internet, with my address so that they can come murder me in retaliation.  Or at least get copies of the pics or my url so they can find themselves online to show to friends.  I should be charmingly grateful for their participation in my endeavors.

I don't like strangers taking a picture of me either.  It seems an invasion.  And importuning.  A presumption.  I guess, to improve my karma, I'll have to change my own attitude about that.  

But the artist in me is getting thicker skinned and bolder, may I say?

You can't ALWAYS be shooting people from behind!

Did I mention though, I would be inclined to hand out lumps of coal and rotten fruit (unlike this - does anybody KNOW what to do with raw fresh almonds by the way?) to people who insist on stepping ACROSS the picture I'm trying to take.  Which happens far too many times than I'd like to say.

This lady was lovely and generous and gave me a smile, even after I declined her tempting flowers.  She reminds me in her face and how the chin is lifted, and even in her stance, of Degas' "Petite Danseuse".  On a bad-posture-cigarette break.

These guys have found a certain freedom in the "Velibs".  They don't know I've snapped them.  Very liberating for all concerned.

SHE is rocking the classic french clashing color workingmans' look.  Clashing in all the best ways, I've always thought.

She is rocking the take-me-to-the-disco-you-will-not-regret-it-cheri! look (At 12 noon on a Saturday, I remind you!) THANKYOU MLLE!  for giving me a big smile.  You KNOW you look good.  And I.  Am doing the - "Oh I'm not snapping YOU!  It's that fascinating building in the background" happy dance.  Which is why the picture is blurry.

And these guys.  Are rocking the I-AM-A-HAPPY-CHILD-IN-PARIS look.

A seemingly effortless style .  YOU could feel so stylish if you were born to it, if most of the Saturdays of your life looked like this!  How WAS yours, anyway?


  1. Ok so it's not Melrose! I am jealous, Paris, Wow! love all the pictures and narration is equally as good. At the present in Palm Springs at 115 degrees the hottest place in USA. So whose the luckest?

  2. ahhhh, so jealous. so v. jealous. will have to go back and look through my pics to make myself feel better. can't wait to go back again.

    love the pics of the children - i love looking back at the pics of my sons in paris. too good to be true.


  3. great photos MP...kind of like taking a walk through the streets with you...I loved that...
    just love these glimpses into everyday paris!
    Sophia x

  4. These past posts are great! and lovely photos really! you are it in street photography plus the comments --a real pro! And should you have mentioned the small glass of liquor at the café on the second photograph and the sale of mojitos a little bit further down... yes this is France! With its ups and downs, and drab looks and disco ones. Thanks for this walk!

  5. thanks guys for all the thumbs ups! glad you liked.

    sophie - i guess this is what we all go to big cities for, the buzz and the contrast and the spectrum of life's pursuits all taking place on the sidewalk.

    and kenza - should i be doing a survey of all the people drinking at doubtful times of the day (for us puritan americans), or talking on cellphones!? i almost didn't get a single shot without cellphone action!

    jules, i would love to see pics of your boys in paris. i have a friend who took her twin boys to paris when they were little and it had a v. positive lifelong imapct on them. (but i'm not saying it's easy to do!)

    kevin: you know i've loved being in l.a. so much and hadn't been to paris for several years. i thought i would feel so "been there, done that" but it never fails to be breathtaking.

    thanks for stopping by chicos!

  6. Love it, love it, love it - what an delightful tour! And no I do not know what to do with raw fuzzy almond, and yes "petite danseuse"!

    Might find a little of that feeling in SF, but really... Paris is Paris and nothing comes close!

    p.s. more please :^)

  7. you did not take the usual pictures and those are fantastic. I can't take a picture of people without feeling deep burning shame, so i'm glad someone has the... fuzzy almonds to do it.

  8. thanks corine! i loved taking these pictures just as much as i do doing the "usual" ones. i love this part of paris - and france. and yes, thankful that i'm getting braver - or more determined!