Twenty-five years ago, I discovered the street photography of Elliot Erwitt and Henri Cartier Bresson. From that point on, my thoughts of Paris have been inextricably linked to their images.
A few months ago, I spent a week in the “city of light”. For this particular trip, rather than squeezing as many museums and sites into my daily itinerary as possible, I decided to attempt walking in the footsteps of these two great masters – as a street photographer.
Each morning I simply picked a new general direction and roamed the streets in search of Bresson’s “decisive moment” or as Erwitt suggests, the opportunity to put my camera in front of “something interesting in an ordinary place”. One difference would be that my camera would be an iPhone.
The below collection of images was shot entirely using what I like to call tiny format – which for me means an iPhone 6+ and a few other pieces of tiny camera gear.
Along The Banks
As I walk the Siene, I realize the river runs through the city like a great vein, delivering life blood to the various Arrondissements (neighborhoods). Life happens along the banks, where friends, lovers, and picnickers gather to eat, drink and commune.
A man lights his cigarette along the banks of the Seine River in Paris, France.
A painter sets up his easel along the banks of the Seine River near the Catherdral of Notre Dame in Paris, France.
A man rests his feet on the side of the bank of the Seine River in Paris, France.
A man walks the banks of the Seine River in Paris, France.
A couple sits along the edge of the Seine River in Paris, France.
Friends and couple crowd the banks of the Seine River during sunset in Paris, France.
Ancient cobblestones line the banks of the River Seine in Paris, France.
Scenes from above
I discover the river banks of Île Saint-Louis are a fantastic place to shoot straight down. The scenes just unfold beneath me.
A young couple enjoys the sunset and wine on the banks of the Seine River in Paris, France.
A french bulldog beggs a man for bread as he eats his lunch along the Seine River in Paris, France.
A group of musicians meet to write songs along the banks of the Seine River in Paris, France.
A couple kisses along the banks ofthe Seine River in Paris, France.
Back Streets and Alleyways
Everywhere I walk, I’m discovering a new street or alleyway. The texture of the street and its storefronts, stalls and shops create endless layers. I’ve barely walked a couple of blocks when I realize I’ve lost an hour.
Monument covered in graffiti at Place de la République in Paris, France.
The garage door of a building in Paris, France.
Planters line the front of a store in Paris, France.
Buildings reflect in the water of a rain puddle in Paris, France.
Fruit lines the stall at an open air food market in Paris, France.
Photographers stop to photograph key rings for sales on the street in Paris, France.
Sisters stare at street performers in Paris, France.
A woman takes her dog for an evening stroll on I’le Saint Louis in Paris, France.
Friends huddle to watch a video on a cell phone in Paris, France.
Three women meet to talk on a park bench in Paris, France.
A Parisian man on the street in Paris, France.
Two women enjoy a drink at a cafe in Paris, France.
Dogs and their guardians at a cafe in Paris, France.
Two old friends stop along the bank of the Seine River in Paris, France to enjoy the golden light.
Placed by lovers, locks signifying their everlasting love line the hand rail of a bridge in Paris, France.
Love lock line the hand rail of a bridge in Paris, France. The city has begun to remove the locks by replacing the iron railings.
It takes me over an hour of waiting in line before I can begin climbing the 387 steps to the top of the bell tower where dozens of gothic gargoyles and grotesques await my arrival. I discover that one of my favorite views of the city is from the top of Notre-Dame Cathedral.
Bridges across the Seine River in Paris, France.
The back of the neck and head of a Gargoyle statue on top of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, France.
The spire on top of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, France.
The cityscape of Paris with Sacré-Cœur Basilica in the distance.
View of the Eiffel Tower from the top of Notre-Dame Cathedral.
Walking along the Left Bank, I can’t help but stop for a quick peak inside the touristy, but legendary, Shakespeare and Company. The book shop is still a mecca for writers today just as it was for Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, George Antheil and Man Ray who all spent time here in the 1920’s.
Shoppers browse the books at Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris, France.
A cat sleeps on a couch at the Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris France. The cat’s name is “Kitty” – like all resident cats before it.
An old typewriter sits on a window sill at Shakespeare & Co. bookstore in Paris, France.
Grand Facades & PARCS
What makes Paris Paris? The elegance and grandness of the city permeates everything, from a simple cafe in the Marais to an exquisite park hidden away behind an old church. I’m constantly reminded that a week here is just a tease–it would take a lifetime for me to capture the soul of this city.
Rue Pourlletier on I’le Saint Louis, Paris 2015.
A painter sketches a scene along the banks of the Seine River in Paris, France.
View of the Eiffel Tower from the Trocadéro in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, France.
People fill the lawn of a park in Paris, France.
A couple reads the menu at Cafe Esmeralda near Notre Dame in Paris, France.
A bicycleswith red leather panniers on the street in Paris, France.
A woman sits at the edge of the Grand Bassin rond at the Jardins de Tuileries in Paris, France.