A few European moments

I was in Berlin for a week and in Paris for less than 8 hours. Although I was in neither place to take pictures, I found the few hours in Paris to be far more productive than the time in Berlin. It must have been one of the first days of spring in the city of romance; the sky turned blue, the air was soft and warm, and the entire city seemed intoxicated with either love or the warm day, or perhaps both. There were lovers everywhere; so nice to see romance in an often visibly turbulent and conflictual world.

In contrast, and while I really liked Berlin, the city and much of the population seemed to languish in the grumpiness of winter. Pointing a camera in anyone’s direction generally met with an icy stare and after a while it all seemed like too much effort at public relations to bother to continue. Besides, the camera was big and heavy and possibly intimidating. One really needs a small and good camera for this sort of work. And one that is weatherproof.

In the end, I enjoyed doing some images in the classic black and white style of the street photographer. However, I think it must be much harder to do the sort of work now that people did twenty or more years ago and back into the era of Cartier-Bresson. A post-911 world, security, obsessions with privacy and other issues have placed much more restrictions on photographers when it comes to catching the fleeting moments of a 21st century world fast rushing past to God-knows-where.

Italy and Portugal, nearly two years later, and in October, seem more laid back, similar in mood to Paris, perhaps also seduced by the sun and the promise of good food and romance. Or maybe it was just the last days of summer, when life was fleeting past too quickly, and the coming winter too ominously close to get angry with a photographer.

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