So you’re coming to Paris? Forget about the Eiffel Tower! Take a tour of the Metro instead!
Dear Photographers and Readers of Manfrotto, the next time you come to Paris, forget about the Eiffel Tower and postpone going to Montmartre and the Louvre, because in Paris the place to be, the place where everything is happening is the metro!
It’s amazing how photography can change our outlook on the world around us.
As for me, it used to be that taking the metro was just a pain in the neck. Far from enjoying those “moments of grace” like some politician in the middle of an electoral campaign, I was limited to seeing one advantage, that it was a quick and practical form of transportation, and beyond that all I saw were its faults.
But that was before I got into photography.
Photographers, when you come to Paris, take to the metro
Since I have been doing photography, whenever I’m back in Paris, I love to take pictures in the street…in the metro and other public transportation facilities in Paris (train stations, commuter trains, buses).
The metro in Paris is like an open door onto the whole world.
The metro and train stations are like an incredible melting pot for a diversity of cultures: so take public transportation, and you’re sure to experience a real voyage.
You’ll find people from every walk of life, from every place imaginable, and of every age.
Scenery is everywhere too: in the hallways, on the platforms, inside a metro train, up the staircases, so there are many chances to capture the present moment and immortalize the spirit of the modern city of Paris.
Also, especially in the metro, people are truly authentic
This is the paradox of public transportation: hundreds of thousands of people intersect and share the same space, but in the end, they are really very alone throughout the journey.
Travelers in the metro don’t have that somewhat frozen polite smile or that mandatory serious expression you can find when you’re looking at people in typical public places.
Public transit users don’t have to obey the same rules of etiquette they would follow, for example, in the office.
So that’s why these people can have a vacant expression (because they are lost in thought, they seem suddenly to be taken far, far away). Sometimes too, they can be transfixed by a poster, by the signs around them while they wait to arrive at the right station or while they wait for the train to pull up to the platform.
And of course, there are these other decisive moments, like when people sigh at the fact that they’ve spent another 5 minutes waiting for a friend who is running late, or when they just missed their train…
I hope these photos taken in the metro and in other public transportation vehicles in Paris have convinced you to spend more time hanging out on platforms and in trains the next time you visit Paris.
Remember that one of the keys to successful street photography is discretion. So I’m counting on you not to wander around the passageways of the metro system with a camera that costs 4000 euros or a 70-200mm zoom lens.
It has been a real pleasure to share some of my ideas about photography with you throughout the month of July, 2014. If you have any questions at all, leave a comment after this article, and I will be happy to answer.
See you again soon, dear readers of Manfrotto Imagine More!
PS: In case you missed them, here are the 4 other photo tutorials published over the past weeks:
- How I took this portrait photo in Hanoi, Vietnam
- Another photo encounter in the streets of Hanoi, Vietnam
- How to photograph a vegetable (or an object) and make it magical
- Taking the photo portrait of an artisan: 3 common errors and how to avoid them!
Maïeva Voyage is a passionate photographer who discovered photography completely by chance 5 years ago when someone gave her a camera, and it changed her life: it was a reflex camera. It was especially in Vietnam at the Photo Club of Hanoi that she developed her photographic technique.
For more than 2 years, she has been sharing her photo tips on Photo-tuto.fr, a feminine blog with fun and relaxed photo tutorials.
You’ll find Maïeva Voyage on her Photo-tuto.fr blog, but also at https://www.twitter.com/Photo_tuto_fr and at https://www.facebook.com/Blog.Photo.Tuto.Fr
Maïeva Voyage is our guest contributor for the month of July, 2014.