I have one simple question:
Is Paris magical or do we simply make it that way by the expectations we have for it as a city? I've definitely experienced the magic it has to offer. I only ask this question because of the photo I took above. If there was any question though, I'll set it straight first, this is my entry for @worldcapture's week eight people photography contest. Now back to the photo.
Paris is a beautiful city and I've been there twice. Very fittingly I had the pleasure of being their with someone I loved. Both times. As I'm writing this I'm realizing how bad it might sound that each individual trip was with a different girl. Just know this, the first time I was in love and the second time I was also in love but both were completely and utterly mutually exclusive. This post is not about love though or my many failed attempts at it.
When the sun sets in Paris during the middle of summer everything glows with the most golden hue you can possibly imagine. The water in every fountain sparkles, the growing shadows make each building look even bigger than they already are and the warmth of the sun can be felt until the last crest of it slips over the edge of the horizon. If you're anywhere near the Seine river it's as if you can see for miles in one direction and the city looks more alive than it ever did during the day. Pretty magical right?
Now add on top of that being there with someone you love. Don't forget all the stories you've heard about Paris. Imagine seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time or watching pigeons fly across the backdrop of Notre Dame. Now let's take a walk around the Louvre as the sun so elegantly sets. That's where this photo was taken. We wandered from a nearby bridge that crossed the Seine and ended up in the courtyards of the largest museum in the world. A few steps further and we stumbled across this talented man who was deep in the strings of his cello.
It jumps out at you, honestly. There was a crowd of people surrounding him and I'm not sure if they wanted to listen to him or if they just needed a photo like I did. The sun was shining perfectly through the grate of the wrought iron fence and his emotion could be seen and heard with every note of his instrument. I wanted that picture because it encapsulated everything I thought Paris would be but it was hard to stop watching him. His talent showed through with every stroke that he took and it made me wonder why he was there. He could have easily been featured at a concert hall just down the road. Yet here he was, in front of me, playing his heart out.
So I snapped this photo and I stood there a while longer listening to him play. I believe I even tipped him as I walked away. Now I sit at home and think to myself that this man is out there somewhere in the streets of Paris. He gets up every day and goes to a job or possibly finds this spot just to busk. Does he think Paris is as magical as I do? Has he experienced it in the way that I have? Or do you think he's been there his entire life and now takes it for granted?
I'm not trying to take away the magic of Paris. As sure as the sun rises and sets you will find magic somewhere in this city. The country of France and the people that live there have cultivated their home to be that way over thousands of years. I simply ask am I the one bringing the power that it hodls (I couldn't resist)? I have seen street performers play instruments all around the world. Are they not as magical? I have seen sunset after sunset and I guarantee you they are virtually the same no matter where you are. I would argue that it's no less magical in New Zealand than it is in Paris except for the person who is experiencing it and the attitude they bring which, perhaps, makes all the difference in the world.
So there you have it. With this weeks contest I also bring a question or two. In all the countries that I've visited and all the people that I've seen, at the end of the day we're all the same. We do similar things and live in similar cities. We want to visit places we've never been to and see sights that we've never seen. And while some of these places can hold magic on their own, are we the ones who ultimately bring mysticism to the areas that we seek? Is it the photographer who finds what is already there or is life being given to the meek? Does the subject give forth all the life it has to offer or do both parties have to speak? I might being getting a bit poetic but I think you get the point.
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