…wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.
It was still dark when alarm softly beeped right next to my pillow. We only landed in Paris twenty hours ago, jet-lagged and excited. Despite a three hour nap the day before, six hours of sleep was still not enough to get my body to get used to Parisian time zone.
I groggily climbed out of bed, trying to keep my husband from waking up. Feet cold on the hardwood floors of our French AirBnb, I tiptoed to the bathroom where a fresh set of clothing was prepared for me last night by my more-awake self.
Camera bag by the door and a large plastic bag stuffed with tulle skirts that I brought with me all the way across the Atlantic. Some may call me crazy. I call myself an artist.
I stepped out onto the quiet streets of Paris. No pedestrians in sight at 6 am, but a block away from our apartment a market was already setting up their wares for the day. Bustling with activity, I saw men passing each other crates of fresh fish and produce. Walking by with a smile on my face, someone even greeted me with a friendly “Bonjour, mademoiselle!”
I got onto the empty Sunday subway and settled in for the long journey. It was a forty minute ride to Trocadero, where I would be meeting my model Lisa. Listening to music on my earphones, I let the awakening Paris settle me into a subtle bliss. That feeling that you feel before something tremendous, otherworldly and exciting is about to occur.
My train jolted to a stop and, finally, I was alighting the steps up to the ground level where the soft pinks and purples of a glorious sunrise were painting the sky. I breathed in the fresh, crisp air and walked a few meters before allowing myself to turn around and see what was in front of me.
The Eiffel Tower. Stark against the sharp morning air, standing out against the pastel canvas that the sun was painting behind it.
That moment… It was mesmerizing; unforgettable.
I looked over the tiny peaks of churches that were littering the landscape, I watched the pigeons backlit, majestic at this time of day. I saw a few others sharing the sight of this beautiful day to come, be it a ballerina who was getting sunlit images captured or a myriad of couples there for their very own rendezvous.
I drew a sharp intake of breath, trying to fill my lungs to capacity, closed my eyes and let myself linger just a moment before I was set to meet Lisa and begin our very own photoshoot.
The next hour and a half was magical. Meeting Lisa for the first time, we instantly connected and felt like lifelong friends. Laughing and being silly, she twirled in the tulle skirts I brought from home in front of the Eiffel Tower and let the sunrise warm her face against the October chill.
To say this was one of the most memorable, ethereal and magical photoshoots of my entire life would not come even close to describe the special place I have in my heart of those two hours.
It was a dream come true. A culmination of years of work as a photographer in order to be able to do this with not only confidence and know-how but having never lost the childlike glee of creating images I love. It was a photoshoot to express love. To myself, my incredible model Lisa and the one-of-a-kind city.
How fitting, given that we were creating art where so many artists did. We walked the streets where so many writers, musicians and actors found inspiration, their muse. To be a part of that history, that monumental presence, was one of the most memorable things I’ve done in my life. And for that I am so grateful.