Sunday, 20 January 2013


As I was on my way to collect my kids from school on Friday, I spotted these green parakeets in the tree outside the house. A colony of them has been living in the nearby park for some years now.  When they were first spotted nobody thought they would survive their first winter...

Friday, 18 January 2013

And for something completely different...

As satisfying as it is for my narcissism, I am already boring myself - and presumably others - to death with telling bits of my own story.
So, now for something completely different: a digital picture taken 30 mn ago just outside my computer desk:
Snow, glorious snow!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

My own private Brie

The baker's opposite the primary school, getting a pain au chocolat was the highlight of my school days...
 I grew up in Roissy-en-Brie, about 25 km East of Paris in Seine et Marne, a rural place in the 1960', complete with farms and corn fields. It steadily mushroomed into a prime example of suburbian "ville-dortoir" where most adults would take a train to work early in the morning and huge chunks of the place turned into a ghost town in the daytime... Not that it was much funkier in the evenings...
As you can guess I couldn't wait to get out.
About twenty years after leaving, I went back to spend a day retracing my own steps - literally - walking the streets I most used in childhood and adolescence, taking in what had changed and what hadn't.
The back of the station

Chateau d'eau/Water reservoir

The avenue along the cemetary, its iron gates sticking out in the background.
It wasn't a particularly rough, and certainly not a chic suburb, it just felt as nothing ever happened... then again I might have felt like that no matter where I grew up. As a small child I was very attached to bits of Roissy, it was home and I was loved there. 
As a teenager I grew itchy feet and and as soon as I passed my Baccalaureat, went as an au-pair to Dublin for a change of scenery.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Where I come from

I didn't set out to pick photos chronologically but I guess it makes sense to show some early pix that also tell a bit about where I come from quite literally. This is a portrait of my grand-mother, Raymonde (daughter of Louise featured in my first post),  taken when she was 87 years old. She always hated having her picture taken but I abused my privilege as her only grand-child to bully her into posing for me.
Raymonde Ménard, my grand-mother
On the same day, I asked my mum to pose for me. I'd read about the principle of the "nude portrait", or that if you take a portrait of a person naked - you don't show their nudity - somehow the expression on their face is more truthful,  their true self is revealed. I suspect it is only because the person feels more vulnerable that it seems to work well with some people. To her credit - and my disbelief - my mother played the game that time.
Jeannine Joly, my mother

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

New Year, New Middle-aged Me!

After years of procrastination - even though I firmly believe that raising small kids does count as a legitimate excuse not to get on with the best laid plans - I'm finally coming round to digging into my piles of prints and negatives, and sifting through years of digital photographs.

This was on my very first roll of 35mm film taken with my very first reflex camera, a Nikon FM: my great grand-mother on her 98th birthday and my 18th.
Louise Roussi, my great grand-mother

Thirty odd years later it still feels like a good portrait, I knew it then, the second I saw the contact sheet and I know it now. Sometimes I'm asked how you choose between lots of pix taken in the same session, and I'm always at a loss as to the "how"... your eye knows in a split second.