American girl in Paris
My photo shoot with Ellen will forever hold a very special place in my heart. Photography, for me, is as much about building relationships with people as it is about taking pretty pictures. But there are times when photography is my rescue, my salvation from whatever hell happens to be happening in my life. Photo-shoot with Ellen was of this variety. For personal reasons, when I met Ellen I was a mess. Days prior to the shoot I discovered that I have been lied to for months on end by someone who meant a lot to me. In the state of emotional upheaval all I wanted to do was lie in bed and cry, but my inner core wouldn’t let me stay home and wallow. So I went on the photo-shoot with Ellen.
I am usually composed and organized during my shoots. But when I met Ellen I was simply a mess. I thought that we would probably end up cancelling the whole thing due to the dire state I was in. To my amazement and delight Ellen, albeit only for the three hours that we were shooting, made me come alive, made me forget about the hell that just happened in my personal life. This is probably one of the more emotional posts I will write on here. This is raw, real and very personal. I wanted to share this story here to showcase how a passion, be it for photography or something else, can save you, can lift you up from the destruction and upheaval in your life and give you the only thing that really matters in life – hope.
So without further ado, I would like to tell you more about my shoot with Ellen. I was inspired to do a shoot like this long before actually visiting Paris. The following photo was my starting point. I wanted to make use of magnificent architecture and landmarks in Paris.
Location of the shoot was Place de la Concorde. It is the largest square in the French capital. At the north end, it has a magnificent stone building which I wanted to have in some of my shots. I also wanted to make use of a quiet alley adjacent to the square. Place de la Concorde is a very busy place with hundreds of tourists roaming around. It was nice to begin our shoot in the fairly quiet alley. The light was just right and I took advantage of the beautiful shadows being cast by the trees. I used a strobe with a portable soft-box to properly light the face and body of my wonderful model.
I then asked Ellen to change into another dress and we went on to photograph with a magnificent stone building in the background. I subsequently titled this photo “Grief” and it went on to become very popular on 500px with many photographers complimenting me on composition. Out of the series with Ellen this was my favorite photo. I love the background and the texture in this shot.
After shooting for about two hours at this location we decided to take a stroll in Tuileries Garden. It is absolutely stunning! The only downside is that with so many people in the park it is challenging to shoot. Also, this park has many restrictions in terms of shooting and we were almost immediately approached by a security guard informing us that we can not set up lighting equipment there. But I am resourceful, so we did manage to shoot a few more frames with an aid of a reflector. I love the Decorative Arts Museum in the background! Ah, Paris, it is easy to be a good photographer while roaming your streets! 🙂
It was a wrap for my shoot with Ellen, but this post wouldn’t be complete without saying few words about this remarkable woman. Ellen is originally from New York. She sung in the Metropoletan opera for over 20 years! She then fell in love with a Parisian man and overcame many obstacles to be with him. They are now happily married and Ellen partakes in small productions around Paris, though, sadly, she doesn’t sing in the opera any more. Here are some links to Ellen’s videos. She is extremely talented, but also unbelievable kind and caring. I was very touched by her generosity and kindness.
After our shoot, knowing that this is my last day in Paris, Ellen invited me to a fancy patisserie and tea house – Angelina! The place is unbelievable and I am drooling as I remember the tasty pastries and the out of this world hot chocolate. This was by far the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had in my life!
I will forever be grateful to Ellen for making my last day in Paris so special. Now when I think back to the end of my vacation I remember my photo shoot with Ellen and sipping hot chocolate at Angelina. 🙂
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