Having previously accompanied St. Edwards’ students on their trips to the UK and Rome, it was a real pleasure to catch up again last summer with the university’s overseas programme, this time in Paris. I joined up on the last day of a five-week course, entitled the Art of Travel, where ten undergraduates, led by professors Jena Heath and Hollis Hammonds, were experiencing and learning about French culture through the practice of art and journalism.
Morning port of call was the API learning centre in Châtelet, where the students were putting the finishing touches to their analogue and digital portfolios . The atmosphere on this last day of school was suitably relaxed and everyone was fine having me stick a camera under their nose, despite one or two initial cases of reluctance.
Posing for a group photo by the iconic art nouveau designed metro station was “de rigueur” before heading for lunch in a local creperie.
After a couple of hours of chilling out and over-eating, a strong Parisian coffee was needed to boost energy levels for the afternoon ahead! My role thereafter was to use my local visual knowledge to capture the students set against some of the classical backdrops of the world’s most visited city.
A leisurely stroll which took us through the heart of the capital, from the Centre Pompidou to Pont Neuf, stopping by the timeless beauty of Place Dauphine, before heading along the quays of the Seine to Notre Dame, and then finally settling down for a drink in île Saint Louis.
While I love to capture events and human interactions as spontaneously as possible, the students were also very cooperative in helping set up certain semi-directed scenarios, so that the pictures would be direct and impacting. I must also commend some of the locals we came across, like the boule player and riverside bookseller, who played their part in making the photoshoot go smoothly and enjoyably.
It was sad to have to leave such a warm and welcoming group of people just as I felt I was starting to get to know them. A big thanks therefore to all the students and especially to Jena and Holly who made this one day in Paris a truly enriching experience.
Despite this feeling of separation, the day ended on a positive note, when the sun finally broke through the clouds, presenting a glowing evening vista of the Eiffel tower, just before I had to catch my train home.
Tim joined me, my colleague, and our ten students on the final leg of a five-week study abroad program in the summer of 2022. Our university’s Marketing team hired him to shoot us as we explored Paris for a spread in the university magazine. I can’t say enough about what a graceful, professional, and truly delightful addition Tim was to our experience. We never felt staged or posed and his photos show it. They so vividly and naturally capture our students opening up and taking in the glory of Paris. I can’t recommend working with Tim highly enough.