Monday, January 3, 2011

Paris...Where Will You Let It Take You?

"I invent nothing. I rediscover."~Auguste Rodin

Happy New Year! The year brings with it new experiences, artwork, friendships and potential for growth as artists and individuals.

I have collected a few images that I photographed on an amazing journey to France last autumn.  A  commission project took me to the South Of France. The clients, who are now dear friends enabled me to take thousands of photos while staying with them. I could easily live in France. The slower pace and savouring of time, food and company help with one prone to a busy, overly-active mind.

The images found in this blog post are all available for purchase as fine art prints, photo prints and more here on my DeviantArt page. DeviantArt is a huge, online community of passionate artists and creatives and a great hub of excitement about all things art.

These images are taken mostly from Paris, with the Arc De Triomphe and Notre Dame offering many opportunities to capture amazing subjects in shifting light and atmospheres. Here are two images taken from a visit up the Arc De Triomphe...

Ascending the many steps up to the top of the Arc De Triomphe
..this image reminds me of a nautilus shell.

The Arc De Triomphe wasn't too busy that day...but considering it is one of the most frequently visited spots in Paris, there was a large volume of people there. The views from the top of the Arc were spectacular and showed the city radiating out in all directions like waves out from a central point. There was a "study" for one of the relief sculptures on the outside of the Arc found inside en route to the top. The detail and quality of expression on this figure truly amazed me. I shot numerous photos of this statue but this one was my favourite..

Another day involved a visit to the very popular Pere LaChaise Cemetery. Most people go to track down the grave of Jim Morrison, lead singer of "The Doors". Morrison's body was removed from the grave man years ago for fear of vandalism I believe. While walking around the cemetery I spied this lovely statue. A bit of grief frozen in time. I always marvel how soft fabric can retain that visual quality even when sculpted from stone, marble or bronze.

The next day I visited Notre Dame De Paris, one of the most famous cathedrals in the world. As I meandered past many shrines to different saints, the crowds were respectful and quiet and spoke in hushed tones all around. I stopped to take a shot of one of the many places that votive candles had been set out to be lit by the devout or simply visitors moved to be at the cathedral.

The warm glow of the votives contrasted nicely with the echoing
 acoustics and cool grey stone of the cathedral..

There were many beautiful statues in Notre Dame but the one which I enjoyed the most was the solitary figure of Joan Of Arc off in a corner, a bit of light illuminating the statue.  Her resolute posture struck a chord. 
After exploring the cathedral from the inside I decided to head up the hundreds of stairs to view the famous gargoyles en route to the top of the structure. I was not disappointed. The gargoyles cut a great profile on the skyline of guards who keep a constant vigil over the City Of Lights. There was must quiet jostling of precious real estate space up there on the terrace. People were leaning out and snapping photographs like mad, myself included.

These gargoyles jutted out and perched on the corners surrounding the periphery of the cathedral. I tried to imagine sitting there, looking out forever at the same view, but a constantly changing view too, with people and seasons altering the landscape. While I was out on the small catwalk a group of cleaners appeared out of nowhere and regarded their charges. The gargoyles stared back. It was a rather amusing moment.

The gargoyle seemed to defy the sky to descend upon the city..
A fun juxtaposition..acrophobes need not apply:)

These photographs have been culled from a large number of shots...thousands of them actually. Look for more blog entries about the amazing city of Paris within the coming weeks...these are but a few of the many sights that caught my mind and heart out in the City Of Lights. I can easily say that Paris is the most beautiful large city that I have ever had the pleasure to visit. I could live there, unlike other large cities of the world. There is room to breathe, character at every corner and romance, yes, is everywhere. It is a place of dreams, a place that belongs to artists and those with a desire to push themselves to the edge of their imagination and beyond...

"An artist has no home in Europe except in Paris."~Friedrich Nietzsche


Neiley Harris said...

Wow Heather, your blog is such a resource for inspiration. I find that I "comment" with the word inspire or inspiration a lot, but thats what draws me in. I'll be checking in regularly. Great work!

Textaroma said...

Stunning pictures.

Jeremy Pearse said...

Beautiful photos, I especially love your black and white work, very inspiring!

Jenna said...

Incredible entry - and equally incredible shots. It brings back a lot of memories and makes me realize why I'm so happy to be your friend. I have a similar shot of me doing the same thing at the bottom mirror shot.

You could make a photographic art book from these alone!

Keep up the amazing work,