Light & Land

‘A Photographer’s Paris’ by Paul Sanders

19th November 2018

Last week, in mid November, Paul Sanders took a small group to photograph Paris. Here he shares his thoughts on the trip...

"Paris shows a different face to every visitor. Some come for just shopping or in the hope of finding romance, some come for just Mickey Mouse. I come to find my heart. My love of this city started with loathing, I hated it. Busy, rude and expensive with a metro system that made no sense at all.

Gradually with time, I have grown to adore this flat city of lights and grey zinc roofs. It’s alleyways and architecture inspire me, the cafes and colonnades are a safe haven from the rain and sun.

I’m inspired by Monet, Brassai, Horst Harmann, Cartier Bresson, Luc Besson, Chanel; Paris comes at you from all directions and is yours, just yours. We each tell our own stories of Paris, the trick with Paris is to embrace every facet. 

Every city has a mood that suits a season. Paris in autumn can be beautiful and our group were blessed with moments of stunning light, as well as the mist and fog that capture a different mood entirely, giving a softness that adds romance and fills the pavements with reflections.

In our four days here, we covered quite a lot of ground and made great, if at times, confused use of a metro system that partially closed down because of the visit of US President Donald Trump.

We covered as much of the most incredible city as time, light and energy would allow, lots of coffee, patisserie stops coupled with breaks for cafe lunches and brasserie dinners, we sampled everything Paris to offer.

Our first afternoon and evening were spent around Montmatre. The narrow streets, stairways and squares, with views over Paris and to the Sacre Coeur got the creative spirts off to a flying start and watching the sunset from a rooftop bar with drinks in hand as we photographed the Eiffel Tower was a bit of treat. Our evening ended with the spinning Moulin Rouge windmill.

An early start on Friday meant we had the Trocadero to ourselves as the sun rose behind it. Simplicity was the order of the day. The Seine makes a stunning backdrop to photographs but add tree lined walkways and tunnels, well it just makes one sigh with contentment.

Paris Photo is a exhibition that all photographers should try to see, it pulls together every genre of our art, some of the greatest names in photography were on show alongside some of the emerging talent. As with all art it’s a personal thing, some of the work on show baffled even me, other images left me breathless with their beauty.

The bright lights of nighttime Paris see the city change its face again, with layers of light filtering through the trees and bridges sparkling with their ornate display. It’s at night I always feel I am in Luck Besson’s Angel-A and noir classic showing Paris by night, in the most elegant and seedy way.

With Notre Dame, La Defense and the streets of La Marais, of course not forgetting a quick stop by La Lovre and its pyramid, Paris gave us so much, but it always steals a little piece of my heart, like the padlocks attached to the bridges across the Seine, there is always a part of me that remains here".

Paul will be leading a tour to Paris again next November, if you'd like to join him or find out more, please click here.

Light and Land

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