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Paris, May 2014 - 075 | by Ed Yourdon
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Paris, May 2014 - 075

I'd love to be able to say that I staged this shot, and that I directed each of the pigeons to be in a specific place at a specific time. And that I directed the woman on the right to adopt a specific pose of mournful sadness ...


But of course, none of that is true. I have no idea of what was really going on here, and I had no idea that the pigeons would create this tableau. I heard the rush of wings behind me, coming closer, and I knew that any shot that I got of a flock of pigeons flying past me would be potentially interesting. So, given the marvels of digital cameras, I took ten shots. Maybe twenty. Maybe a thousand ... who knows?


Meanwhile, I was aware of this family strolling along the front of the massive entrance of the Saint-Sulpice church, but they weren't doing anything particularly interesting. I don't know if I would have bothered photographing them by themselves ... probably I would have done so, because the late-afternoon sunlight was so special that it made anything look good. I could have photographed a toad in that light, and it would have looked like a fairy princess. I could have photographed ... well, okay, you get the point.


As for the emotions on the woman's face .... I have no idea. It's possible that she was laughing, it's possible that she was just wiping some dust from her eyes. Anything is possible, and that's part of the magic of photography: it's up to each of us to decide what it all means. If anything ...


Note: notwithstanding all of this philosophical mumbo-jumbo, I chose this as my "photo of the day" for May 29, 2014.




In the spring of 2014, we came to Paris for a week of relaxed vacationing, mostly to wander around and see some old familiar places. It was a “return” trip for both of us, though in my case I think it’s probably been more than 15 years since I was even here on a business trip.


Business trips to any city don’t really count as a “visit” -- since they basically involve flying into a busy airport at night, taking a taxi to a generic business-traveler’s hotel (a Hilton in Paris looks just like a Hilton in Cairo), and then spending several days working in the hotel (if the purpose of the trip was a seminar or computer conference), or at a client’s office (also “generic” in most cases — you can’t even tell what floor you’re on when you get off the elevator, because every floor of “open office” layouts is the same). The trip usually ends in the late afternoon or evening of the final day, with a mad dash back to the airport to catch the last plane home to NYC. Thus, a business trip to Paris is almost indistinguishable from a business trip to Omaha. Or Albany. Or Tokyo.


But I did make a few “personal” visits to Paris in the 1970s and 1980s, so I looked forward to having the chance to walk through some familiar places along the Left Bank. I’m not so interested in museums, monuments, cathedrals, or other “official” tourist spots (but yes, I have been to the Eiffel Tower, just as I’ve been to the Empire State Building in NYC), so you won’t see any photos of those places in this Flickr set.


As a photographer, I now concentrate mostly on people and street scenes. The details of the location don’t matter much to me, though I do try to geotag my photos whenever I can. But for the most part, what you’ll see here are scenes of people and local things in Paris that made me smile as I walked around …

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Taken on May 18, 2014