Everywhere I look I see people. Others just like me. Camera in hand, phone in the other. Looking for the light through our screens, unconscious of our real surroundings.
It wasn’t the first time I’d chosen to go to the most touristy spot in the city, possibly in the world. And it wouldn’t be the last. But thank goodness it would be the last for this trip.
We were heading home after over two weeks of travel around the Pyrenees Mountains visiting some of the most unique and interesting cultures I never knew I’d fall in love with. From visiting both coasts in France and Spain to the epic wine countries and mountainside villages in between, this trip was definitely one for the books.
Now at the end of our best adventure yet, here we were. Pushing through the evening Friday night crowd under the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. The city of all cities. The city American girls dream of visiting.
But the action here was different this time. It didn’t feel as awe-inspiring as it used to.
‣ Was this because I’d already seen it?
‣ Was it because I was chasing some long lost feeling?
‣ Or was it simply because there were too many more of me around and I couldn’t escape them?
Whatever I wanted to feel and didn’t feel now, I knew it. I knew I didn’t enjoy it the way I did before.
It genuinely made me sad to see so many unaware humans prancing about trying to snag the best insta-shot in town. Sorry. Not sorry IG community. You know it’s true.
At first, I got frustrated by their sheer crowd sizes, lines, and cues, and groups, and tours. Ugh. So there are so many of us.
All we kept saying is, “This isn’t even high season.”
I knew Paris would be the more touristy of all. And I was already warned about the new 10-foot glass wall now erected around the entire base perimeter of the Eiffel Tower. (Thanks @robmelloy) But I just wasn’t prepared to be haggled to buy wine just to sit in a dusty fenced in grassy patch amongst the rest of them starring up at it like caged animals. I didn’t want you all to be in my shots. But there you were.
What shocked me the most was how much action was taking place, that had absolutely everything to do with the tower, and yet, nothing at all. It was a spectacle, to say the least. One I was not at all interested in being apart of.
Yet there I was. Totally in it. Looking around at everyone else. Wondering what they were doing.
All I wanted was to find a cool angle, a new perspective of those lean skinny lines and triangles. That staggeringly tall tower that we all came here to see.
Everyone else just wanted to take photos of themselves. I just want to find a unique story of what the tower feels like tonight. What I feel like tonight. On our only night in Paris. The last night of our first European trip together.
And there it was. The spectacle of all spectacles. One that made my camera come to my eye quicker than I anticipated. I bumped my glasses and blinked into the viewfinder, squinting at first. Not sure I was seeing what I thought I was seeing.
Was that a red silk dress standing in the middle of the intersection?
Yup. A full-blown photo production with lights, cameras and oh so much action. Right in the middle of the intersection under the Eiffel Tower!
So of course, I had to shoot it.
For what it’s worth, I want to thank that couple for being the biggest spectacle of us all. I mean if you’re gonna do it, you might as well DO IT, God Damn it!
Needless to say, my mood lifted instantly. Right there in that moment that I got to capture something so unique and so interesting in the most photographed place in the world.
I was grateful for not only that red dress and those fearless souls. I was also grateful for all you crazy people in the world. The ones that come from far and wide, from every inch of this planet. The ones that are just like me.
I was reminded many times on this trip that the more I travel the more of you I will see. The more of you I will bump into. The more of you I will fall in love with after I initially want to judge. This is because there are more of us. We are taking over this small globe we call home as more of us reach out and take risks, go for adventures, and explore.
My hope is that as much joy as we all get out of “Making A Photograph”, we all stay alive to the truth of who we really are.
Let’s be reminded of why we come to these places. Why we love them. Let’s step back and be in awe of our historic creations, let’s use our resources and educate ourselves about our REAL history. Let’s come together and understand each others culture and take care of the unique people and the incredible places we all call home.
Let’s remember to #livewonderful.