Tag Archives: landscape

Provence – A New Chapter

Sunset vista from the small Provencal town of Bonnieux, France

I travel a lot. Typically, I feel very safe. I find that most people around the world all want the same things: peace, love, freedom. I’ve traveled so much and so far now I’m good at keeping anxieties down, especially irrational ones.

That was until a recent flight back from Sweden.

There were two gentlemen boarding the plane acting very strangely and it struck me… what if they wanted to hurt the people on board. After a mild panic attack and contemplating being that girl who throws a big fuss and wants off the plane, I realized something important. The first thing that came into my head after I thought “Damn it, I’m on a plane with terrorists!” was “…and now I’ll never know what it was like to live in France.” So I made myself a promise. I said, if this is not a terrorist attack, I would live out one of my dream and spend some real time in this country I have been lusting over my entire life. Being that I’m writing this there was no ill-fated plan to bring down my plane.

And here I sit in France.

Now of course, this all sounds easier said than done. Making the decision and then obtaining a French visa were two very different things. I have never in my life gone through a more frustrating, confusing process.  I didn’t give up, though there were some tears. I learned the first valuable lesson in French living- French Bureaucracy is difficult.

So what am I doing here? First, I’m living. I’m watching the sunsets. I’m picking grapes and eating them. I’m buying a warm baguette at the patisserie every morning and counting the hours by the sound of the bell tolls in town rather than on my iPhone. I wake up with the sunlight, not an alarm clock. I buy the local wine. I marvel to myself how different a lemon smells here freshly sliced and how did I not know the beautiful perfume of fresh cracked pepper before? I pet every dog in sight. I visit the markets and make notes on the minute details and differences. I’m trying new styles from my black New York uniform. I’m SLOWLY learning French. I’m taking my camera out and pointing her at this stunning place, capturing what mesmerizes me about this organic way of life.

To be honest, I needed a refresh from New York. I needed to do something new and different. Stimulate my brain in a different way. I talk about the fragility of creativity and I needed to give mine a rest. I wanted to give her the opportunity to explore new visions and new forms of idea and expression. I know what living in New York means. I wanted to know that aspect of France as well. As I have been taking the time to be present I’m already beginning to have new vision, still lives I want to create around the Provencal table. A place where things come in and out of your life with the passing seasons. A vision of women I want to capture that celebrates their natural beauty on film, un-retouched in a world of manipulation. I feel that excitement toward photography I had when I first started out at 13. When holding a camera in your hands wasn’t a job. It was an adventure. What can you capture, and what can you create…

I think everyone would assume I would have chosen Paris. I love Paris more than any other city in the world. She is my dream. But I didn’t want to just change from fancy New York parties to fancy French parties, the same kind of people, the same kind of work, and the same kind of pace to life. I wanted to really be in a different place, experience another world. I am in the south, in a very small town in Provence, a part of the Luberon. It’s quaint and it’s quiet and though small, it is somehow opening my heart and mind to a whole other world of endless ideas.

It’s not forever, but it is for now and now is right where I want to be. 

Sunset vista from the small Provencal town of Bonnieux, France

Above, working from a hilltop coffee shop in the little charming town of Bonnieux.

More Provence stories here.

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F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “My Lost City”

A look at Manhattan as it was from the window of an airplane

“From the ruins, lonely and inexplicable as the sphinx, rose the Empire State Building.

And just as it had been tradition of mine to climb to the Plaza roof to take leave of the beautiful city extending as far as the eyes could see, so now I went to the roof of that last and most magnificent of towers.
Then I understood. Everything was explained. I had discovered the crowning error of the city. Its Pandora’s box.

Full of vaunting pride, the New Yorker had climbed here, and seen with dismay what he had never suspected. That the city was not the endless sucession of canyons that he had supposed, but that it had limits, fading out into the country on all sides into an expanse of green and blue. That alone was limitless.

And with the awful realization that New York was a city after all and not a universe, the whole shining ediface that he had reared in his mind came crashing down.

That was the gift of Alfred Smith to the citizens of New York.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald, My Lost City: Personal Essays 1920-40

More New York HERE

 

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Big Sur

California's Big Sur, a sceneic drive along the pacific coast highway

I’ve always wanted to drive along Big Sur, the dramatic edge of the western United States. While in Pebble Beach with Lincoln Motor Company, it seemed like the appropriate time to do that all-American activity of going for a drive, listening to old Beatles songs and Elton John favorites, pulling over every two miles to look in awe at the real picture show that is Big Sur.

California's Big Sur, a sceneic drive along the pacific coast highway California's Big Sur, a sceneic drive along the pacific coast highway California's Big Sur, a sceneic drive along the pacific coast highway California's Big Sur, a sceneic drive along the pacific coast highway

 

Captured on 4×5 black and white Ilford Delta film

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Part III: Berlin

In the 1950s, my grandfather Beck was stationed in Berlin. Growing up as a child, I was always so fascinated by the old black & white photos of him from this era in this place unlike anything I knew on the country roads of Texas. I’ve always wanted to go and walk in his footsteps, to think of him as a young man, his family so far away, the devastation of war in front of him. We walked from East to West, we studied the differences from old photographs. We wandered the streets of Scheunenviertel and Kurfürstendamm. We had pretzels and beer, schnitzel and sauerkraut and look back in time of a city that changed so much.

Berlin in black and white film photographs Berlin in black and white film photographs Berlin in black and white film photographs     Berlin in black and white film photographs

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