Paris in the Fall

A black and white film story by photographer Jamie Beck of Paris in the Fall...

Another autumn has come and gone, another year of memories with fleeting snapshots from Paris to add to my archive. I love Paris in the fall, the dynamic sky, the ease of getting lost in the day just wondering and watching, and the romantic nights when she beings to sparkle like no other. With each passing year I always reset my eyes on this city of photographic love.

“There is never any ending to Paris and the memory of each person who has lived in it differs from that of any other. We always returned to it no matter who we were or how it was changed or with what difficulties, or ease, it could be reached. Paris was always worth it and you received return for whatever you brought to it. But this is how Paris was in the early days when we were very poor and very happy.”
― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

A black and white film story by photographer Jamie Beck of Paris in the Fall... A black and white film story by photographer Jamie Beck of Paris in the Fall... A black and white film story by photographer Jamie Beck of Paris in the Fall... A black and white film story by photographer Jamie Beck of Paris in the Fall... (more…)

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When Pigs Fly…

Portrait_Jamie_Beck_2

When I first started my journey to France I got a new piece of jewelry, something that represents my approach to life. It was a signet ring by Retrouvai, a modern heirloom designer based in L.A., with a flying pig engraved in gold in the middle.

I love signet rings with their classic monograms so this was a bit of a departure but the symbolism of the flying pig to “embody strength to overcome life’s greatest obstacles” was exactly the reminder I wanted to give myself to be strong on my new journey in a far off land with a foreign language I did not speak, I was in a town I’d never been and was living in an apartment I’d never seen before, in the middle of nowhere. Fast forward five months and everything worked out.

It wasn’t always easy.

I have cried from frustration, fear, exhaustion, confusion but now I’ve grasped the swing of things. I’m a better person. I’ve learned so much about myself and grown immensely by doing something so completely different than the life I had created in New York. I am stronger. I’m a better photographer, I’m an inspired artist. But perhaps more important than any of it, I took the courage to live one of my dreams.

When you test what you can do you realize that anything is possible. The limits we create in our mind are just that, creations of the mind. Every time I slide this ring on or off or catch glimpses of it reflecting the light I think about that line engraved on the inside, nestled against my skin, a message that is one of the things I most believe about how to live a fulfilling life… “Anything is Possible.”

“A wise man once said anything is possible when you stop believing it is impossible.”

More stories from my life in Provence here.

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Winter in Provence

Life fell into a quiet pace. In the mornings I count the bell tolls while the angular winter light rakes across the crumpled bed covers. In the evenings the cry of the starlings marks 6pm as they dance to their symphony in the sky.

fireplace-provence-cinemagraph-615 The distant sound of a person’s footsteps on the quiet ancient streets, the soft ambience of rain outside my aged glass window plane. Most days nothing is happening. The stores have closed for the season, the visitors have gone home to Paris and on many of the restaurants old signs hang saying closed until April.

I go for long walks between the towns, the vista dotted with chimney stacks dancing with smoke. A dusty blue haze settles in before each sunset, a faint reminder of richer blues skies ahead.

It’s better than I imagined, the quiet after years of thriving on noise. Life noise, street noise, work noise. Manhattan just seems to constantly hummm. I used to be afraid of silence but now I find myself in it and it is there in the void where I can paint all the worlds I dream of.

As I work in the short hours of afternoon light I watch as it scans with each passing minute through the room I photograph in. It always seems to start with such gusto and by the time it reaches the last corner before slipping away it slows to a linger like taking that last sip of champagne.

The nights are illuminated by roaring fires and home cooked meals. For years I cursed the winter, I never knew it could actually be so warm. I watch the trees and the vines and the rosebushes rest… and I rest… because with spring awaits new wonders to discover .

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Discovering the Power of Kérastase’s Aura Botanica in Morocco

Kerastase_Morocco__000 Traveling to Morocco is always a special treat. The coastal African country is rich in traditions of simple daily life with beautiful scents, inspiring riads, amazing tagines, the BEST mint tea and of course, exotic markets. But it’s also known for something else… something you can only find here deep in the dry forests of the Moroccan countryside: Argan Oil. It was this highly effective moisturizing oil that Kérastase sent us to discover for ourselves.

With my travel companions Samantha from California, Yoshiko from Japan, and Marie-Laure from France we landed together in Agadir and began our journey to the Argan forest along the rocky cliffside of the African coast. The farther we ventured from Agadir, the more mountainous and wild the landscape became until the goats were in the trees and acres and acres of Argan trees were all we could see.

We arrived to a co-op run by all women. It is here Kérastase has empowered these women to help them source and produce the highest quality Argan oil for the new Kérastase Aura Botanica haircare range. The process is anything but simple and is quite time consuming. First, women collect the fallen Argan nuts off the ground then leave them in piles to dry for months in the sun. The outer shell is then removed and hand sorted. The nuts move from each group of women to the next, generations mixed from young to old, and on joyous afternoons the women will chant traditional Moroccan songs while they work in harmony.

The next stage is the hardest, I would know because they made me try it! I ended up smashing my fingers more than cracking the hard shell of the Argan nut. With precision and centuries old technique, the women using a rock and a stone, smash the hard outer shell revealing a very delicate, white, almost almond-like nut in the core. Sorted again by hand, the best nuts make it to the pressing phase where the Argan oil that is so powerful for hair, skin and nails is extracted and filtered. This oil, from these photos below, are what make up the key natural ingredient of Kérastase’s Aura Botanica.

“The new Aura Botanica range is made for the woman who believes that responsibility is a must, performance a right and glowing, healthy hair is the essence of self-expression.” -Kérastase

(more…)



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