A sweet spot

I have a sweet spot for strong light, graphic contrast, clean composition, a frame in the frame, people in the street, and dogs. All these elements come together in this picture.

An instant favourite frame.
An instant favourite frame.

 

The strange building in the background is the new Jean Cocteau museum in Menton, a  beautiful coastal town bordering Italy.

Landmarks

Embraced by a palm tree
Embraced by a palm tree

 

Cote d’Azur has many visual landmarks. My favourites are the palm trees, perhaps because they always evoke in me the association with something exotic, as I grew up in the north of Europe, where pines and oaks are the staples.

I have come to appreciate their visual impact after looking at photographs of Mark Surloff, whose Miami landscapes are often filled with these characteristic silhouettes.

 

 

Mind reading

Have you ever wished, you could know, what’s going on in other people’s minds ? Science is already going in that direction. I have seen some rudimentary images, translating what we see, into graphics, on basis of brain wave imaging alone. Soon, they say, it will be possible to record your dreams on a video.

Meantime, every now and then I manage to catch some insight about what others think about, on basis of their facial expressions.

Are we happy in this relationship?
Are we happy in this relationship?

Good morning

 
A romantic welcome to your working day
A romantic welcome to your working day

I tend to work long hours every day, but when I walk in the morning along the sea to my office , I find partial compensation in being able to observe scenes like that very often. On average, there are 303 sunny days a year in Monte Carlo.

A double take

 

Many photographers try to work on an idea of an image through multiple takes. This is most often seen in landscape photographs, where an identical scene and framing can bring completely different effects depending on the light, time of year and atmospheric conditions.

Sometimes, the use of a different focal length can be beneficial. Here is a photograph I have retaken at a distance of a couple of weeks. Both photos are shot on 35mm camera. The first one with a 50mm lens:

 

A soft frame
A soft frame

The second one, with a 85mm lens:

An impression of a woman
An impression of a woman

 At times, it is difficult to decide, which one works better.

 

 

Intense focus

It is much easier to catch people unaware, when they are so intensely focused on what they are doing, that they simply don’t see the photographer snapping away at them.

A quiet shutter helps.

He has just unpacked his new toys.
He has just unpacked his new toys.

On my weekly strolls in Nice, I usually stop by for lunch in this little and cozy place called “Les Causeries de Blandine” ( Blandine’s chatters). You will find there a familiar atmosphere, art on the walls, some illustrated albums to flip through, and a great selection of salads, quiches and home made cakes.

Blandine teaching her craft.
Blandine teaching her craft.

On body language

What was it, that I had to do now ?
What was it, that I had to do now ?

Social psychologists study the language of human bodies. They want to understand our non verbal ways of communicating, and how we can take advantage of understanding the impact of our psyche on our bodies, and vice versa.

I remain fascinated by what is going on in the minds of other people, by how they translate their unique beings into expressions of living form. This is a never ending source of photographic inspiration.

As you grow old, the experience accumulates, and so you tend to look at the world increasingly from above.
As you grow old, the experience accumulates, and so you tend to look at the world increasingly from above.

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Christmas is coming

The nearing of the Christmas season on Cote d’Azur, is mainly perceptible, through the sudden appearance of decorations and little lamps in the streets. It usually adds a slightly surreal touch to the environment, because December tends to be a month without much rain, and the temperatures are still very enjoyable.People happily continue to eat out in the sidewalk restaurants, seated in their t shirts, and some more courageous even continue to bath regularly in the sea.

Christmas is only two weeks away - isn't it evident ?
Christmas is only two weeks away – isn’t it evident ?

 

On mental conditioning

I often catch myself taking photographs, which I should not really take. There must be some contorted circuit in my brain, which tells me: See? Isn’t it interesting? – or – This should not be there! Photograph it !

In most cases the result is not that great.

I believe, the reason is, that it is the rational part of the brain that “orders” me to photograph, not the intuitive, poetic side, which is sensitive to forms and emotions and capable of that “mindless” perception typical of the creative process.

 

Is a broken scooter really that much visually compelling
Is a broken scooter really that much visually compelling ?

“You can observe a lot by just watching.” – Yogi Berra

A street photographer set free, is an individual, that has loaded himself above all with the following task: start noticing things.  There are no two pairs of eyes in the universe equal to each other. This is why street photography will always have a future.

 

Humor is always available in the street
Humor is always available in the street

Recently, I have dusted off one of the old tricks of street shooters: taking the photographs without looking through the viewfinder. Some call it shooting from the hip, but in practice, I have worked out two or three alternative modes of doing it, and sometimes the results are surprisingly good.

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