L’été à Paris




Paris is a beautiful city. During the summer months millions of tourists visit the French capital, the city know for being then most romantic place in the world. They seek out the areas of Saint Germain, Montmatre or Saint-Germain, visit Île de la Cité and Notre-Dame, the Eiffel tower, Avenue des Champs-Élysées, the museum of Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe or just wander along the banks of the river Seine.

This summer I spend a week in Paris with my two youngest boys of 17 (yes they are twins). We had an amazing time; their age is perfect for exploring cities like Paris. We did everything any tourist would do, walked the streets of Paris from morning to late evening, jumped around from one arrondissement to another by the Metro and most of all we enjoy just sitting down on one of the many street cafes, having a shot of espresso and maybe a croissant – and observing street life.

And of course I photographed. A lot. But I wasn’t there foremost as a photographer, I was more photographing as a tourist captivating our exploration of the French capital. This time I didn’t travel to photograph, instead photographing became second priority. It changes the approach – and the final images I came back with, as I pointed out in my post 10 Tips for Better Travel Photography. Without being able to immerse myself in the photographic process I went for the feeling of Paris through the use of space and landmarks and less trying to capture the street life and people on the street. And of course I captured my boys’ experiences of the lovely city. Paris is a great place for any photographer – even when photography is not the main concern.

On a different note; last week I announced another start of my popular eWorkshop «Finding Your Photographic Voice». There are still some spots available if you want to join in. The workshop will help you become better at capturing pictures which show and tell what you saw for your inner eye. We start up next week. Does it sound interesting? You’ll find more information about the workshop here.


116 thoughts on “L’été à Paris

  1. Great photos! A pro tip about Paris is where you can eat for about 12€ for 3 courses in the Latin Quarter. Great fun

      1. Food is a great part of any Paris holiday! But,if you are on a budget or just want a taste of regional food. The latin quarter is a great place!

  2. Lovely moods from Paris and very interesting reading. I’m sure traveling with the twins is fun and healthy and helps oneself staying young at heart. 🙂 Have a great new week!

  3. How is it that you can see a million photos of the Eiffel Tower and never tire of it? Beautiful images, as always. I used to live close to the square arch at La Defense shown in your picture that looks along the boulevard from the Arc de Triomphe. Happy memories – thanks!

    1. I am glad the photos evoked some happy memories. And, yes, there is something special about the Eiffel tower. Imagine; it was originally only suppose to stand temporarily. Thanks for the feedback, Mary.

  4. Ah…memories of Paris! Did the same as you and your young men…jumped from area to area via METRO and feet. Nude sunbathers along the Seine “wall”, the Jewish Quarter, lattes and croissants, a small upper floor hotel room big enough for two but shared by four! Like your journey…priceless. Your photos are magnificent and evoke vivid remembrances….R.

  5. Beautifully crafted collection of photos, Otto. Very thought-provoking, altogether.
    Thank you.

  6. Wonderful, Otto! I always think it is fun to see a photographers perspective when he/she is just being vs. being a photographer. The art is always within, but sometimes the perspective is different and images just appear simpler. Your work is always inspirational and a pleasure to view.

    1. Yes, even when I am not out to photograph, of course my vision is still with me – I just don’t have the time to devote myself to photography at the same degree. Thank you for the very nice words, Robyn.

  7. It’s funny, but that is the first time I have seen photos Paris that actually made me want to see Paris. I’m glad you were able to have such a nice trip with your boys. They will have some wonderful memories of the time spent together.

  8. I am in awe of the different styles of processing you used to create this series of images of Paris. The variety makes a fascinating study for one such as me who is just starting to experiment and the difference of your images to the usual tourist snapshots/brochures I’ve seen brings the city alive in a much more personal way. A very creative post, thank you Otto for this glimpse of Paris.

  9. I am so glad that you and your boys had a wonderful trip, Otto, and yes indeed, it is very different when you are not traveling to photograph. But I find that no matter where I am, if I am with family, the photography can always wait.

  10. As usual, very nice story telling. This time you were more as father than a photographer as i understood from your writing.

  11. These pictures and places you mentioned just brought back some memory. I wished to see the tower at night. You must be quite late to see the tower lights in summer time. Great pictures as a tourist indeed!

  12. Spectacular as always Otto and with your characteristic capturing a sense of place as well… always wanted to visit Paris… thanks for showing me spine of the sights 🙂

  13. My experience in Paris with two small children wasn’t that good….maybe I should give it another change …. In 20years time…. 🙂

  14. Oppps, my mistake I was going to miss your recent post, not sure how but I found unscribed from your blog 😦 but now again subscribed 🙂 .
    I like the variety in your picture story, you have been able with twelve photos to give us the feeling of this special city. Of course I’m not surprised, on holidays with the twins there is the father and the photographer …

  15. Con queste tue foto trasmetti tutta la bellezza di Parigi e la sua atmosfera.
    Così sembrerà anche a me di avere viaggiato, quest’anno niente vacanze purtroppo.
    Ciao, un caro saluto. Pat

  16. I never get tired watching photos of Paris- the most inspiring town for me so far. Otto, I particularly like your black and white photos with white vignetting; the one of a cafe screams Paris 🙂

  17. You’ve caught such a perfect Paris in your photos. We’re here right now with our 10 year old granddaughter which is an absolute delight but lining up for hours everywhere is not for us. We too are surfing le Metro and cafe hopping.

  18. Tack för att jag fick följa med till Paris, staden som alltid både överraskar och lever upp till ens förväntningar. Härliga situationsbilder…och visst är det roligt att fotandet kan komma i andra hand ibland…kanske det blir som bäst just då!?
    Hoppas att du får en fortsatt fin sommar, både under semestern och på jobbet.

  19. Paris is an amazing place to get inspiration! When I was there, I remember these long long strolls by myself on the Seine, trying to get the most from the atmosphere I was surrounded by.
    Your pics are amazing to get inspiration, and to keep on following my dreams. And of course to dream as well!

  20. How wonderful that you took your sons to such an amazing city, and I love that you went primarily as a dad and co-tourist and not necessarily with your photography as the prime motivation. Still, those photos, Otto! They’re just wonderful. I have actually spent some time on your Blue Hour Photo Workshop site and I would like to work towards finding a time when I could be really ready to treat myself to one of your e-courses, Otto. I think it’s just a matter of prioritization, and I’m giving that some serious thought. 🙂

    1. It would be a delight to have you participating, Debra. So thanks for showing interest in taking it at some point. And thank you for the lovely words. I believe you are right that passion for photography is one thing, but being dad is quite a different story. It was just pure fun travelling with my sons.

  21. Thanks for sharing your images of Paris. One day I might get there. I might be able to take advantage of one of your eWorkshops in the future if my Kickstarter campaign is successful. No point with my point-and-shoot camera!

  22. Just as you said, Otto; that’s why my photos didn’t come out looking so focused on the creaative side the first time I visited NYC. Despite my attempts to do so, I spent most of the time observing and shooting as a tourist, not as an artist. It is so interesting how the two results can come out of one person without it meaning to be that way.

    1. It makes a huge difference, doesn’t it. I think you can still try to be artistic when you are visiting a place as a tourist, but it’s impossible to be that focused a real artistic approach requires.

  23. Paris! Ah… need I say more? I love France, Paris, all the more. I’m so happy you had a splendid time with your boys during your trip, I really like the photo, photographing tourist of the Eiffel Tower.

  24. Beautiful photographs, Otto. Specially the last one of a lady taking her selfie 🙂 A lovely photograph that expresses the popularity and significance of the Eiffel Tower.

  25. Hej Otto, underbara bilder som andas glädje, skön atmosfär du fått fram och det gläder mig stort att du och dina tonårspojkar fick möjlighet att göra den här resan tillsammans. Här har som du säkert vet sommaren varit i varmaste laget men nu börjar det bli mer sansade temperaturer så nu börjar skaparlusten återvända. Önskar dig lycka till med din andra e-workshop.
    Bästa hälsningar

    1. Takk for de fine lykkeønskningene. Ja, det har vel stort sett vært veldig varmt de fleste steder i sommer. Håper at du fortsetter med å la skaperlysten blomstre, Monica.

  26. How fun for your boys – and for you to experience it with them! I was 17 when I visited Paris, and yes, it was a great age to be there. I sure wish I’d had more than a 110 camera with a limited number of rolls of film back then!

  27. Wonderful… Otto, the 3rd shot and the final shot are incredible! What impresses me most is the great diversity and perspective that you have in this series, covering what seems like a series of emotions. Beautiful work.

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