Several of my friends have commented that I seem a bit soul-sick since I got back from Paris. And they’re right.
It was a wonderful trip, full of interesting people and rich human experiences. But—photographically—I was disappointed. Not in Paris … but in myself.
Usually I find Paris irresistible. But this time my eye felt flat. To me, my photos looked as empty as I felt.
But then I got the sweetest note from my friend Chris:
i followed your blog quite a few days, your photography definitely picked up a notch, and it wasn’t slouching before. some great shots. loved the one of the guy with the kazoo.
Of all the travel photographers/writers I know, Chris is my favorite. He has a beautiful eye, a keen sense of observation, and a wonderful wit. So his kind words meant the world to me.
Still, I was wracked by self-doubt this morning as I continued sorting through my photos. Until I happened upon some proof.
I was standing in about the same spot—probably at about the same time of day—when I shot both of these frames. The first I shot last September. The second, just a week ago.
I paused to analyze both photos. Then I looked at lots of others. And I realized for the first time that my photography changed significantly during this trip.
I shot much less because I was more focused. And Instead of shooting sweeping vistas, I found myself working tighter. I started moving closer to my subjects, trying to show what caught my eye.
In short: I found myself shifting from being an observer to becoming a storyteller.
As the days pass, I continue to discover that—in many surprising ways—my two weeks in Paris really were the trip of a lifetime. What a gift …