ahh, Paris in spring…

Joseph Koudelka gives a winsome Martin Parr a pat on the back after the Paris portraits session

John Gladdy emerges from his Paris hotel executive suite, only to be met by the dreaded Burn paparazzi


Like most photographers, I have a bunch of ideas about half cooked….Only some very few of my many on going projects actually get finished…I write about finishing often on Burn because it is the one single element most holding most photographers back..They just do not finish..I have often described a one in ten “finish rate”, which sounds low, but might actually be high….In any case the above two pictures, along with hundreds of others will fit into my now 4th book in progress tentatively titled:   PHOTOGRAPHERS (I have known)..

You will have to use your imagination on the typography and layout, but you can probably imagine the scrapbook look that would contain all the pictures I have made of my colleagues over the last 40+ years. No not just now as in Paris with the Magnum crowd and a piece of the Burn crowd, but all the way back to my college days, newspaper days, NatGeo days and 15 yrs worth of Magnum days and from seminars and photo fests world wide and all of my students and on and on and on…

Yup, I have pictures of probably everyone reading this text right now…Right? Or pretty damned close to it. Everybody shoots these “extended family ” pictures , but I might just have been doing it longer and over a wider demographic of our photographic community than most…

This is not so unusual , for photographers seems to love taking pictures of each other. I saw it at Look3 and I see it at the Magnum meetings like the one we just had now in Paris.  Photographers will often say “don’t take my picture, I belong on the other side of the camera”,  then give a silly grin into the camera just like everyone else getting their picture made. C’mon let’s face it, we all like being in a “memory picture” …Not a good picture. Not an intentional picture. Just a snapshot for the memory book. Well, this memory book might just be a real book. So unselfconscious and so not “trying” that it might just have an authenticity to it that would give it some lasting value. A little piece of history. And of course I will sell a copy to all the photographers who are in the book! Hot sales figures right there. :)

Of course, the cynical response could be, and will be, “who cares about a bunch of pictures of photographers?”…. a fair question of course…Well, I would sure buy a copy if someone else did it..Assuming it was done in a really interesting way…Just a bit of text, a few identifying captions, and well ..done…

Above are just two of the many I took around the Magnum annual gathering of the tribe. The first is of an unusual moment when Martin Parr arrived at the HCB Foundation cocktail party after photographing dozens of Parisians who had been lined up around the block to have a Parr Portrait as part of a Paris office fundraiser. Who could be more different than Parr? Koudelka, that’s who…Yet this is classic..Two photographers who see the world so so differently, and who might disagree on some issues, yet blend in a family way in the long run of our cooperative..This is the extended family of photography that I have always seen since my youngest days. Here played out on the same time stage with a late night Burn crowd reunion in the room of John Gladdy who decided to show us work at 3:30am after a diet of champagne, red wine, and tequila…All of this is part of my photo mix. What I have seen since starting to shoot this sort of thing during my grad school days.

That old famous line “if you remember the 60’s you were not there” is pretty much true. Same for a lot of these gatherings. I sure would not remember 90% of the stuff I see in my contact sheets. So good thing I made a few snaps to trigger the memories. Good ones, great ones,  to be sure..

Next time you see me, smile..You just might end up in the book…

337 Responses to “ahh, Paris in spring…”

  • Is there any way to just hang out in New York with some of you and show you my book edit? I have been eyeing some book project workshops and they run at around $1750 for 6 days. . . I would rather put up images on a magnetic wall, share some beer and get feedback.



  • MW – I will let you know as soon as I finish my first edit. It’s going to be a damned bit more than 42.

  • MW; Ironically I learnt to drive in a Ford Prefect… ;-)

  • “Yup, I have pictures of probably everyone reading this text right now…Right?”

    That probably means I need to get to NY soon.

  • DAH

    ‘I sure would not remember 90% of the stuff I see in my contact sheets. So good thing I made a few snaps to trigger the memories.’

    well that’s just it isn’t it? memory triggers… catching some essence of an experience to remember it by…
    i know for me it is.

    my camera is my memory recorder. i don’t mean like every snap of anything & everything, but those times when the instinct perks up, the radar of the soul or whatever you might call it, tunes in and starts flashing and you gotta catch it… the poetry of life… turn it into a picture…

    i mean, when we try to remember a special situation/moment/encounter, how much of it, over time, do we actually retain?? as the days turn to months, hours shrink to just a few moments in the mind, snapshots in the memory… HOWEVER if i can catch it’s essence, or something of it in a photo, it’s like the photo becomes a trigger for a whole bunch or memories (otherwise lost in the subconscious), the circumstance that surrounded that moment all come flooding back… i suppose that’s part of the addiction…

  • On my latest project, I’ve been keeping more images than I would if it wasn’t long term – some are notes to myself about things I’m looking for and I expect to replace them with better frames later on. But it is alaso early days for me, and I am new to photography still, so don’t take my words as gospel advice – I’m learning as I go. And I’m wondering how I’ll manage the organisation of files as this project grows, too.

    I much prefer to use work prints, but even do that is questionable here. Between thee quantity of images and the fact that I’m spending every penny I have to go and make the work, matters like ordering work prints to make work easier take a back seat. Hell, even stuff like wanting a wider lens for some of the images is out of the question at this stage. Affording it means not being there. The 50mm feels tight, especially in some of the indoor spaces, but going wider means no images at all, so I deal with it and do the best I can with what I’ve got.

    I’ll probably get more critical as I start to focus more on what is important and see past the extraneous. But right now, it is a new world for me and I’m just trying ti understand it. I feel editing too tightly at this stage would go against that.

    Don’t know if this even makes sense as an explanation. I’m just trying to do what feels right.

  • ^^^^ that was to ROSS NOLLY

  • David.. all…

    So taking today’s twitter about making ‘photography too hard vs. too easy’.. and adding this bit from under Gilden’s essay, written by DAH:

    “another way of looking at it , is that it is not want you did not do , or did not get, but what you did do and did get…you have proven that it is best to forget what did not work..”

    How do you do that.. easy vs. hard and knowing of all the missed shots, which are burned in your brain but you didn’t get? Just move on?.. I mean, I can foul YOU, but I cannot fool ME.. I know they were there, but I just was (mostly) too slow to get it.. or does that happen only to me?

  • I wish I had that lens or that camera…I wish I was in so and so place…and life goes by and your photography never photographed anything of your life, there was always an excuse or distraction to stop you from living/documenting your life, those and that round you…
    That Twitter post should be tattooed on every newcomer to photography and painted on all cameras.

  • better to sit on your arse ans count the corn as it exits………. public speakers do

  • Imants.. could do.. still remains the fact that I know.. and counting what I got wouldn’t make me lazy?.. and therefore make me go backward instead of forward.. whatever forward is of course.. and IF I understood you correctly, which I’m not always sure of..

  • Counting is a lazy form of living, most people count forwards so regression is not a problem ……….. but clicking a shutter should never be an obsession just a experience like counting kookaburras.

  • Eva,

    DAH also said (somewhere) that the shots are where you are, nowhere else. Following on from that logic, the frames only exist if you make them. Otherwise, they are just moments. All that matters is now. I loved being in Paris and trying to speak poor French last week, partly because it was one of the few times I could only speak in the present tense, only speak in or of the now.

    Great pictures are made when everything comes together perfectly at the same time. If you don’t press the shutter at the right time, it isn’t a great picture at all – not everything came together. That’s all it is. Just another almost-picture, but never a picture without your shutter firing.

    Don’t stress on it, just get back in the moment and know that you’ll end up in another moment where everything does come together. That’s inevitable if you’re open to it.

    Mind you, I say all this as someone who has been making pictures with a camera for less than a year. You may want to ignore everything that I say. I have no accolades to add weight to my name. And I don’t even use my name to post here. That thing is so light right now, it could straight float away if I did. I can’t even say that I’d miss it.

  • Eva – is there anywhere I can see some of your work? I just realised I’ve never seen any of it (I don’t think) and, since we met up, I’d really like to see your images. Thanks.

  • What is a Kookaburra?

  • http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/s/dominique_strausskahn/index.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha2

    It was all a set up!!!!???!!!
    No rape, no nothing..all bullshit ,
    just enough to lose his reputation and the French elections…
    (for some , the only IMF guy that was “relatively” Greek “friendly”…

    “Politics, lies and whores”
    They tried to “get him” Clinton style, but it wasn’t possible coz Europeans are way more liberal and advanced comparing with the super religious bible belt American puplic, therefore a FAKE RAPE ALLEGATION was necessary ..
    “cheating” with a whore was NOT enough..
    So his enemies chose to pull the “RAPE card”…
    They new that sooner or later the LIES would be uncovered but they didn’t worry about much coz in politics it’s all about TIMING and once he lost reputation, lost elections and that’s all they need..
    Yea yea he is innocent but but they managed to shut him down for good!
    Elections lost… Hmmmmm!!!

  • “An economist and politician, Mr. Strauss-Kahn used the European debt crisis to seize, somewhat audaciously, a new and prominent role for the I.M.F. Trying to shed its old image as a hidebound policy task master, the fund sought to refashion itself as the investment bank of multilateral institutions — doing whatever it takes to get the deal done.

    Mr. Strauss-Kahn was a leading member of France’s Socialist Party when he was chosen by the newly elected Mr. Sarkozy, a conservative, to be the head of the fund, a job that has traditionally been given to a European.”

    It all make sense now.. He wanted to reform
    IMF and bring new changes but status quo SAID NO

  • Panos… careful, I got sh*t on here for doubting the timing of it all a while back, not ditching the consipiracy theory right away.. ;)

  • Imants.. no Kookaburras over here that I know of.. so it actually could become an obsession trying to cound them..

    vilksatkalsmird, seems some kind of lil birds..

    Framers.. none of it online at the moment.. you write “Just another almost-picture, but never a picture without your shutter firing”.. yes, exactly, and firing the shutter is only my own responsibility, while the other elements coming together are not mine, none of my merit..

  • Vilk, a kookaburra is a South American donkey suffering from a mental disease brought on by red-tailed flies laying their eggs in the donkey’s nasal passages. The larvae dig their way into the donkey’s brain and cause all sorts of damage, among which is the sort of birdcallish sound that gives the donkeys suffering from this malady their name.

  • Eva – true, it is your responsibility, but I meant don’t beat yourself up over it. Just let it go and get back in the now. Otherwise you’ll just miss other moments while you’re thinking about the one that got away. Life’s way too short for having regrets unless they are really very serious. How many pictures are so serious and important that the world couldn’t exist without them? I’d say none at all, and that’s the beauty of photography and all art – it isn’t necessary, but we love it and do it anyway. That’s pure.

    Anyway, I’m rambling.

  • “Yup, I have pictures of probably everyone reading this text right now…Right?”

    AKAKY: Does he have your picture?

    AKAKY IRL: No. He might have a picture of your eye, though.

    AKAKY: Why would he have a picture of my eye?

    AKAKY IRL: Beats the hell out of me, guy. You and those Burn people make absolutely no sense to me. As for the eye thing, maybe he doesn’t want to look at the rest of your mug. I know I don’t.

    AKAKY: Thanks loads.

    AKAKY IRL: Don’t mention it.

  • Eva…smiling…!
    im lost too..i dont know what to believe anymore…it doesnt really matter that much…
    again ALL do not forget to watch the docu “INSIDE JOB” describing how the global financial meltdown was orchestrated (if not orchestrated at least how it “evolved” and who started it..etc)

  • i heard this once in jamaica,
    ‘dem be politricks mon………’
    and ever since then,
    i have always said,

    thanks for the photos Paul… really enjoyed them and the mood…….. **

  • Framers.. not worried, not beating myself up, just wondering, and only wondering when I have no camera in my hands.. when I take pics I don’t think, that’s the beauty of it, just being and no thinking.

    I don’t care about the world or others either that could see or not my pics, that’s another of the beautiful things for me, just taking pics for myself.. BUT I still want them to be as good as possible, MY possible, not anyone elses.. so pushing even knowing I might never get there.. :)

  • Yea, well, I those who automatically assumed an alleged rape victim was lying deserved shit. Same as those who assumed that a prominent politician wasn’t being set up deserved shit. Same as those who jump to conclusions based on little or no evidence generally deserve shit.

    This case in particular is shit all around.

  • MW…


  • EVA

    that is i am afraid perhaps a cultural thing you should lose…worrying about “missed shots”..hmmm, that could make you crazy….what is a missed shot anyway? whatever they are, do not worry for one nanosecond about them….there is no such thing….only think about what you are doing, not what you are not doing…what is happening is what is happening..there is nothing else…otherwise while i am typing this sentence i am “missing shots”…the shots will be there when i get there…now, yes you do have to get out of bed, so i am exaggerating a wee bit….but please please remember the picture is there when you are in the mood to make it…only worry about getting in the mood…THAT is the key…the only key….being somewhere as in “place” is way way secondary to being in the right frame of mind…the only place to BE

    this is actually something you already know from life in general..but many forget about it with their photography…

    cheers, david

  • PANOS…

    dying to see that film

  • According to the two officials, the woman had a phone conversation with an incarcerated man within a day of her encounter with Mr. Strauss-Kahn in which she discussed the possible benefits of pursuing the charges against him. The conversation was recorded.

    That man, the investigators learned, had been arrested on charges of possessing 400 pounds of marijuana. He is among a number of individuals who made multiple cash deposits, totaling around $100,000, into the woman’s bank account over the last two years. The deposits were made in Arizona, Georgia, New York and Pennsylvania.

  • http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/01/nyregion/strauss-kahn-case-seen-as-in-jeopardy.html

    Questions are sure to be raised about how swiftly and vigorously prosecutors proceeded with the case, as many in France questioned whether there was a rush to judgment with Mr. Strauss-Kahn.

    hmmmmmm…..it gets interesting by the minute

  • DAH….its the documentary that “stole” the Oscar from Restrepo…
    i was upset when Tim “missed” the Oscar award but but but…after i saw this docu (INSIDE JOB),
    I LOST my mind (in a very good way)..All those missing links i couldnt see…My gut was TELLING IT LIKE IT IS but. but…i couldnt prove it!…
    plz do NOT miss this docu….
    You’ll get serious evidence about “who, when, why”…how they destroyed (Iceland first) and the Southern Europe (as we speak)…In the meantime people get destroyed, homeless, stolen dignity, tear gassed…its like a holocaust nightmare once again…
    In the meantime some people (mostly in this continent i have to admit) still think its all “shit”, conspiracy theories, something we shouldnt investigate or talk about..
    (i know this mentality so well…as long as my home is paid, my gas guzzler has new custom wheels…i dont give a damn about my neighbor that now lives in a tent with his 3 kids after his house been foreclosed..ha ha..i WIN he LOST right?)
    why he lost????? oh, he was either LAZY or GAY or who knows , maybe greek too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?

  • I GOT IT..FREE HERE..wont last

    Inside Job Part 1

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzrBurlJUNk

    ok original trailer here..


  • Michael, thank u for the link!

  • and Eva,
    thank you for the “Peaceful Warrior” link…
    (its streaming free on Netflix btw)…watching!

  • (EVA, thank you for this blog / link)

    “Strauss Khan is the new favourite for the race for the Élysée Palace. The accusations against him, as reported by the New York Times, seem to be completely without foundation. If there was a relationship with the chambermaid at the Sofitel Hotel in New York, it seems to have been completely consensual. And what’s more, it has been verified that the lady in question has told loads of lies about her past life, as has been found in the investigations. The woman, after making the accusations against Strauss Khan, had a discussion on the telephone with a former prisoner, from whom she received 100,000 dollars in the last few years. They talked about the opportunity to denounce the former president of the IMF.

  • The forthcoming freeing of DSK also comes, strangely enough, two days after the approval by the Greek parliament of the draconian measures to avoid the default that will strangle the next two generations, but that saves the French banks that are in possession of a mountain of Greek State bonds. The day of his arrest, that happened with the maximum of publicity in the world, almost as though he were a newbie Josef Mengele DSK was due to deal with the crisis in Greece in a meeting with Angela Merkel. Athens considered the former head of the IMF as a precious ally to get out of the crisis.

    Athens considered the former head of the IMF as a precious ally to get out of the crisis.

    Athens considered the former head of the IMF as a precious ally to get out of the crisis.

    Athens considered the former head of the IMF as a precious ally to get out of the crisis.


    (TOO MANY many many “coincidences” to just ignore them)

  • On 29 May, Putin raised serious doubts about Strauss Khan’s guilt, concealing an international plot. Putin, speaking with all his experience at the top of the KGB said: “It’s difficult for me to evaluate the various underlying political reasons and I don’t want to directly enter the affair, but I cannot believe that everything is as it seems and as it has been presented.

    It doesn’t convince me.”

    It doesn’t convince me.”

    It doesn’t convince me.”

  • The collapse of the charges against Strauss Khan has come two days after the appointment of Christine Lagarde as head of the IMF with the whole
    fanfare from Sarkozy who has succeeded in his aim of placing his favourite Minister of the Economy in the post left vacant by his erstwhile nemesis.

    his erstwhile nemesis.

    his erstwhile nemesis.

    his erstwhile nemesis.

  • For Hell’s sake, David – don’t finish this book before you meet me. I want a shot at being in there, too! I doubt anything will top the picture of John and Paul. It’s good to see these people whose thoughts and names I read all the time take on visual shape.

  • David…

    Cultural thing? Now that’s something to think about.. missed shots, I see them in my contact sheets.. it’s not that I go mad about it, just wonder how much is lazyness on my part and how much inability.. and if it is inability wondering if I’ll eventually get there.. or if this is something that will always be there.. or if it’s just in my mind..

    Living the now, yes, and be aware of it, yes, normally I don’t have problems with that.. soaking it up and getting filled with it.. and Paul has a point: take the trash out..

    Thank you, Paul, and Framers too.. for the insight and the time you all take..

  • http://www.zougla.gr/page.ashx?pid=86&cid=0&fid=388442&mid=5&pn=1

    (in the meantime…somewhere in a tiny country still goes strong)
    warning: not for weak stomachs :(

Leave a Reply

You must login to post a comment.