Photo by @williamalbertallard
The picture of a young woman blowing smoke over her shoulder in a Paris restaurant is a visual gift I received one evening in 2002, while on assignment for National Geographic. Au Gamin de Paris, a favorite restaurant of mine in the Marias neighborhood, was just around the corner and down the street from my hotel on Rue Ste. Croix de la Bretonnerie. I was dining alone, reading a book, with a Leica sitting on the table in front of me. I never dine alone without a book and a camera. If I’m alone I probably won’t have a book on the table (although there will likely be one in my bag), but I always have a camera within reach. For some reason I was watching her and her young friends. It’s been a few years now, I don’t remember well; maybe she had made that motion of turning to exhale her cigarette smoke a time or two before, and I was watching and waiting. Could be. Looking for pictures is always a little bit like hunting: watching and waiting. When she turned this time, her eyes and mine met just as I raised the camera. Usually in a candid photograph you hope not to have anyone looking at the camera. But in this case the momentary contact her eyes had with mine is the essence of the image. It gives the viewer personal contact with the girls in the picture and makes it somehow intimate and complete.
Follow me @williamalbertallard for more images from Paris and other assignments spanning five decades.
#paris #parís #parisbar #candidphotography #smoke