In Paris we photographed especially in the Marais district, a very old district where royals had there palaces in the past, working class people lived after the French Revolution and artists moved in later. With its narrow streets, small tightly knit houses, museums, art galleries, boutiques, small restaurant , food carts, street musicians and a multicultural population hanging out and enjoying some leisure time Le Marais was the perfect district for street photography. Images in black and white give a feel for this section of Paris and its people.

Photographing in black and white has the viewer focus on the story without colorful distraction. Black and white images still give somewhat the feeling of documented truth since text and photos in newspapers were printed in black and white and were to inform the reader. But this printed newspaper medium in black and white is disappearing and maybe the truth in black and white will do so as well.

In December 2013 and January 2014 we had the amazing opportunity to attend a one week photography workshop in Paris with lauded photojournalist, street photographer and in-person workshop leader Peter Turnley. The workshop taught us the art of street photography, exposed us to images of the most famous photographers. I really liked the images of Henry Cartier Bresson and his quote on the essence of photography.

To take a photograph is to align the head, the eye and the heart. It’s a way of life

Henri Cartier-Bresson

Peter introduced us to our assignment in great detail: creating a photo story, either in color or in black and white and with a single focal length, ideally a wide angle like 35 mm. Black and white was our choice to focus on the people in a timeless fashion in the older part of Paris. For more on Black and White photography versus Color click here.

Besides our instructions, discussions and photography we had the great pleasure to meet one of the most famous black and white printers in the business, Voja Mitrovic and we had the honor to meet John G. Morris, an icon in the history of photojournalism. This was an amazing time in Paris with Peter Turnley and we wouldn’t mind attending another workshop week with Peter again, maybe in Paris or in Havana.

By ruth

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