Thursday, October 29, 2009

Country Living: Out & About








































































































































































































































I tried my best, I really did. I took my big "be brave, be zen" deep breath followed by the "they-don't-know you, you-don't-know-them" mantra and hit the streets of Paris. More to the point, I took to les rues of the 16th arrondissement where we buy our six cereal and fig bread -- not mixed, two different sorts. (Worth the trip btw.)

Those of you who know the reputation of the 16th might sympathize with me or question my intelligence to start my endeavor in this neighborhood. You would be right on both counts.

Steeling myself, I walked up to a smashing woman -- age indeterminable, but in our vast range -- wearing an over the knee bleached denim pencil skirt; cropped close to the body camel leather zippered jacket and bottines of approximately the same color. Her hair was shoulder-length, blondish and wild, she was wearing big, black sunglasses. I explained my mission emphasizing all the while how gorgeous and chic she was. She stopped, gave me her full attention, lifted her shades ever-so-slightly over her blue rimmed blue eyes, looked into my blue eyes, gave me a withering half smile and said: "I don't think so, not today."

Suddenly I can empathize with those excruciatingly annoying telemarketers. She was my first and last attempt in Paris. I've returned to my safe hunting grounds. Little by little I'll build up my courage, choose another arrondissement and try, try again. 

Until then, we're still in the country, although I maintain, tres chic country.

17 comments:

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Oh how agonizing to be rejected like that! Paris Breakfasts just posted a similar blog about how she gets shy when photographing people. I lived in the 16th when I was in Paris and totally get it- they can be super snobby...

I would like to take pictures of people in LA as well but can't get up the courage! Maybe one day soon? Great photos :)

Cathi said...

well, the ladies in your photos are dressed casually chic - which is my kind of dressing...!! lovely photos!

Deja Pseu said...

Fabulous photos, Tish! If those women of the 16th could only see how formidable they'd look in your photos, they'd be lining up to have you shoot them.

tishjett@yahoo.com said...

Dear D.C.,

I find it absolute hell to first muster my courage and then be told "non," when I once did this exercise with a real photographer it was easy. He or she was being refused, I was just the mouthpiece.

I'll repeat my mantra and try again next week.

tishjett@yahoo.com said...

Cathi,

I agree. I love their country chic look, but I suspect just for fun you and others might like to see some polished Parisian elegance. I'll keep working on it. . .

Clarity said...

Dear Tish,

I suggest you go about it like a nature documentarian:

When approaching the subject in their own environment take gentle steps, perhaps provide bait be it a slice of fig bread or nonchalance. If neither of these options work I suggest you dazzle them with your charm and snap a picture while they are distracted. Then on bidding "adieu", mention that they might be fortunate enough to appear in a certain blog at a certain time.

Et voila. Done. I shall expect 10% from the coffee table book.

Anoninoz said...

Well, its her loss to refuse you but I can imagine your feelings on being rejected .....!! How difficult! Anyway the ladies out and about in the countryside look wonderful and very chic... - thank you - lovely post!

Bonjour Madame said...

I adore outfit #6. The color combination is just right and it fits her well. Lots of scarves in all of these outfits! Lovely.

I would be so shy to ask to photograph people, but you are doing a fantastic job. I think soon ladies in your town will be lining up and "casually walking by" when they know you are out and about so they can get their pictures taken by you!

Natalia said...

Please allow me to preface my comment with my admiration for these up-for-it women of the country and their photographer extraordinaire. My thought, if Parisiennes-DCAge are the next goal: What if you print a page from your Out and About blog post to show them an example of your documentary of fabulously-dressed women? I have to admit, if someone - albeit the "someone" I am envisioning is a stranger and not adorable you - asked me (not that they would, but I'm just saying...), I would hesitate letting them take my picture. Who knows where it would end up? BUT show me an example, and I would clamor to join your etoiles filantes.

Marsi said...

Feh. A pox on her heartless soul. You were brave for trying. I myself would probably require a cocktail before even attempting -- something with vodka, d'accord. I do hope you'll give it another try in a less snooty arrondissement -- and by "it," I mean street photos, not vodka. (Unless the chaussure fits, of course ....)

I love seeing so many women in all (or mostly) black. A woman in all (or mostly) black will always catch my eye and look pretty chic, no matter what.

Dedene said...

I'm not surprised that the snippy woman in the 16th refused your request.
I lived in the 16th for 3 years way back when. There were lots of old, rich prostitues who had retired there. You could spot them because they wore their fur coats in the summer!

Kristi said...

Oh Tish! This brought back memories of my early days as a newspaper reporter where I would have to cover something like the Artichoke Festival, which involved accosting total strangers having fun and asking them for comments and taking their photos. I had to steel myself up each time and tried to pick people who looked really friendly! I still cringe remembering how hard it was for me to do.

Drea said...

Hi. I had a thought along the lines of "Natalia"'s... Maybe you could have some fun little business cards made that have your name and the blog site on them. That way, you can hand a woman a card so she can check for herself that you're legit and can go see her photo later. Even if she still says no, it will help build an audience of French women. Might also be nice for all the "out and about in the country" regulars to be able to look at themselves too.

beansgood said...

Perhaps if these ladies realize that they were being admired by several woman from several countries, *after you explain why you wish to take a photo of their wonderful selves, of course, and your only motive is to have women of the world admire their 'uniqueness' (yada, yada, yada), perhaps THEN they will be only too happy to strike a pose.

just a thought.

aaonce said...

The other ladies have given such great suggestions about approaching others but, may I also add that we love your blog as you do it. Although I am a frequent reader of fashion-themed blogs the one thing that frustrates me about blogs that seek to teach style through the use of pictures of strangers is that you can never REALLY understand style from someone you will never see again. Sometimes you can glean something if that person has (lets say) a jacket like yours, but what I learned about style was through mentorship. First my mother who taught me what looked good on me (and how to dress my body) and the colors that complemented me, then I learned about application and creativity through friends- by observing the way a friend might take the same sweater and wear it in 3 different ways that I would never have thought of (and how those ways showed her identity/creativity). I could also questions these people about proportion and such. The women you regularly photograph are becoming mentors to us. So if it doesn't work out that other women in other areas ever cooperate-I for one am happy to see things the way you have chosen to present them here (and don't forget, you have already moved us from inside a shop to outside onto the street-I think that was a step of courage. Perhaps you can expand your net block by block?) Good luck in whatever approach you choose!

Pug1 said...

Enjoyed the pic's! CHEERS! Michele

Natalie said...

Love Drea's idea Tish! If you think you would like cards, please let me know I will help you!

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