Paris - where the father of photojournalism made his home. Henri Cartier-Bresson put Paris indisputably on the map for street photography and caused generations of photographers to follow his lead; photographing the bourgeoisie against the backdrop of this architecturally beautiful city is an ambition for many photographers. If you've always wanted to shoot in Paris you should take the plunge and spend a weekend photographing La Ville Lumière - the City of Light.
It's a nice thought for a photographer really - photographing the City of Light. But although Paris was one of the first cities to be electrified (something that artists like Edouard Manet celebrated in the nineteenth century) that wasn't why it gained this nickname. Instead this meaning came from Paris' fame as one of the centres for the development ideas surrounding cultural reasoning and belief during the Age of Enlightenment. Of course, the city was also an early adopter of gas street lighting too which helped to cement the nickname.
But what does this have to do with photography? Well, Paris became a beacon for European Art with its high quality teaching and exhibiting. Combined with being a historical centre for European fashion and cuisine there is a melting pot of cultures that wasn't repeated anywhere else. The result for us today is that there are thousands of galleries and museums splashed across the Paris area where you can go and learn about anything even tenuously linked with Paris.
My own schedule was punishing and involved two or three visits to galleries or monuments a day, every day. I'd personally suggest that you spend more time lounging in cafes over French coffee and pastries than getting from place to place! A quick tip here - the price of your coffee and croissant depends on where you sit in the cafe. Drinking at the counter is cheapest and outside on the pavement is the most expensive. If you're on a budget simply sit inside or stand at the bar - although you should sit out on the street with your camera at the ready at least once. And always say 'bonjour' to the staff when walking into any cafe or shop. It's considered polite and you'll get awful service if you don't abide by that simple rule.
There are 357 days to get ready for The Societies of Photographers Convention and Trade Show at The Novotel London West, Hammersmith ...
which starts on Wednesday 20th January 2021