Thirty-two years ago, my Dad was studying abroad in Paris. He'd spend the year documenting bits and pieces of his life there using 35mm film—everything from a photo of his drafting table in his apartment, littered with sketches and a half-eaten baguette, to a photo from the top of Notre Dame. I don't know if he fully sensed it happening then, but that year in Paris changed him. I know, not because I knew my Dad prior to 1983 or in the six years after, but because I've spent all 25 years of my existence since listening to him, in some way or another, referencing that year in Paris. Things he saw. Afternoons in Luxembourg Gardens. Hemingway. French films. French art. French culture. The carbs—bread, couscous, crepes.
I've always been amazed at the way in which a relatively short time in a place can leave such a lifelong mark on a person, much like Paris left on my dad. And as I got older, I found myself longing to visit to Paris. I longed to know my Dad's old daily routes. I longed to understand his love for Paris at night. I longed to fully experience the city that's so greatly inspired the man who has taught and inspired me the most. So I finally packed my bags and got to it.
I brought my Dad's old Canon film camera he used in 1983, but uh-hum.. forgot to make sure it still worked. Soo I uh, hunted down a good ole Kodak disposable film camera to use instead. These few photos came out totally imperfect and incomplete, but I love that about them.
Along with these photos, there are a dozen stories to tell, not only in the retracing of my Dad's steps, but in the taking of my own steps, and the sweet surprise of completely falling in love with Paris myself. In time, I hope to share more of those stories and other photos with you.
Until then, a quick film flipbook through Versailles, Provence and Paris: