Winter is Coming

I missed the transition from summer to fall this year.  I’m not sure how, but one day it was oppressively hot and the next day it wasn’t.  My September was busy, including a trip to Europe to teach a workshop in Amsterdam and to shoot some personal photography in Paris… maybe that is why I missed it.  Suddenly the peaceful calm of summer, with its long lazy days, was replaced by the chaos of the fall:  work, dance lessons for my daughter, business trips, family events, booking weddings and workshops for next year, etc.

The transition from fall to winter feels different though, I can feel the change this time;  the days are getting shorter, the skies darker, the weather colder and the rain is pounding down.  Soon it will officially be winter vacation for my daughter and wife (who is a teacher), Christmas will come, there will be more rain and, I am sure, snow.

Is this happening faster each year?  I swear it is, and I have to remind myself to savour each day, each experience, each memory.  I have to remind myself to be mindful and present so that it doesn’t pass by in the blink of an eye again like the end of summer did.  My life is pretty amazing, full of opportunity, but it is so easy to get swept down the river by the current if I’m not careful.  As they say, it is about the journey – not just the destination.

Here is a short photo essay I took last winter, with one or two images thrown in from the year before but re-processed in black and white.  It won’t be long until the world looks like this again and I can’t wait.  My cameras are ready.

96 Hours in Paris – Part Four

A few years ago my PTSD raised its ugly head, a hidden scar from years of working as a paramedic that plunged me into darkness.  The long process of healing, of becoming whole again, taught me a lot about mindfulness and purpose.  It led me to re-define my entire life, for the better.  In a strange way PTSD ended up being one of the best things that ever happened to me because I, like many others before me, built a new life out of adversity.

This trip to Paris, which came on the heels of teaching a sold out workshop in Amsterdam, was a celebration of this new life in a way.  There is a saying you hear every now and then that goes something like “build a life that you don’t need to take a vacation from”.  That, right there, is exactly what I have done over the past few years.  On this trip I walked the streets of Paris for 96 hours, a camera in my hands, creating art.  Art that I will write about.  Art that will be sold as prints.  Art that I will share on stage during my presentations.  Art that I will use to support my workshops and the books I have in development.  Not art made on a vacation, but art made as part of the creative life that I built and choose to live.

And, to get to do it in Paris, a city that I love dearly, is a beautiful thing.  After all, Audrey Hepburn said it best:

“Paris is always a good idea!”

I hope you like the final set of images from this series.   I have really enjoyed processing them, and I am very thankful for all of the kind words and comments that they have received.  Sharing art is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?

Until next time!

Ian

96 Hours in Paris – Part Three

Over two million people live in Paris, a number that swells past twelve million when you include the surrounding areas.  Streets and alleyways are impassible at times, people twisting and turning to fight their way through the crowds as they go about their business.

Paris, somehow, can be a lonely city too though.  It isn’t just the enormity of it, but something that lies subtly under the surface.  Walking the streets of Paris without a destination or schedule you become more in tune to it, the lack of direction allowing you to become more mindful and observant.  Things slow down and you realize that the people fighting their way through the crowds are in their heads, alone amongst many.  You start to notice the people who carve out their own personal space in this busiest of cities: the lady sitting for hours on the outdoor patio, the gentleman reading a newspaper on the bench, the girl standing peacefully by the river or the person lost in thought standing on a bridge looking out on Nôtre Dame. This happens in all cities of course but, somehow, it feels different in Paris.

Being able to observe life here, to really slow down and observe it rather than being a participant, is an incredible experience.  To also get to do it as a photographer is a gift and so I did what I love doing the most… I made pictures.

Click here to view Part Four of this series

Note:   All photos taken with the Fuji X100F, or the Fuji X-Pro2 with the 14mm f/2.8 and the 50mm f/2 lens, using the Acros film simulation.