Paris in Bloom

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In 2015 we had the pleasure to interview photographer Georgianna Lane, and were very pleased she used the name of our interview to name her lovely book! Here's the interview again:

You may have seen them hanging on a wall, in books and magazines...Georgianna Lane's photographs open your eyes to a stunning world: Through her lens, flowers become even more beautiful, cities become dreamy and magical and the details that one would pass without noticing, become treasures. Intrigued, we quizzed her on her art and one of her favourite subjects...Paris...

How did it all begin? 

I’ve been taking photographs from a very young age. Everyone in my family was an avid photographer as I was growing up but I am the one that went farthest with it professionally. About 10 years ago, I made the decision to make photography my full time occupation. It was a leap of faith but has been very rewarding, full of adventure and satisfying artistically. 

How did your life change? 

Since I am self-employed, I work harder and longer hours than I used to but never find it a struggle. I am grateful every day that I can work at something I love doing and make a living at it. 

Could you tell us a little bit about your technique as a photographer? 

I believe it’s vital  to be well-trained so I am constantly studying and working to improve my skills. But even more important than technique is narrowing in on what I want to communicate with my images, how I want viewers to respond and feel when they see them.

I work these two things back and forth – improving my skills to better communicate the mood or message of my images and refining it accordingly. That might include using a different kind of lens, a different technique for post processing or just experimenting to see which version of an image is closest to what I envision.

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What do you search for in your travels?

In researching travel locations, I look for places that appeal to my favorite photographic subjects and that includes  extensive gardens, classical architecture or some other features of beauty. I also love markets and elegant details so Paris and other cities in Europe are perfect locations.

Paris is one of the cities you have been photographing for many years, do you ever get tired of Paris? 

I definitely don’t get tired of visiting or photographing Paris. It is endlessly fascinating and exploring the various neighbourhoods never grows old. It has layers and layers of history that you can see right in the architecture. Paris has an innate sense of style – almost everything is exquisitely presented creating a visual feast for the visitor.

A first or fond memory of Paris would be…

My first trip to Paris was with my Mother when I was 14. We stayed in Saint Germain, had picnics on the grounds of Notre Dame and walked along the Seine at night. A very special and defining trip for both of us.

You have an amazing eye for detail, did you always have it or can we train ours?

Thank you! I love texture, pattern, fine craftsmanship and narrowing in on the essential elements of a place. I have also done extensive macro photography of flowers which perhaps has trained me to look for and see small elements of a whole. I believe anything can be learned so, yes, anyone can train their eye to focus on detail. But I think you have to enjoy it – I get a thrill from getting in close to an exquisite carving or flower petal. Beautiful creations, natural and made by man, are truly awe-inspiring and uplifting emotionally. I believe one can more fully appreciate them by observing the details. 

Something about Paris we are likely not to know…

Paris is becoming a more welcoming and friendly city than its previous reputation might imply. It’s delightful to interact with the residents and various shop keepers. And it is a very safe city. I am out and about day and night and always feel perfectly secure.

What do you like capturing the most in Paris? 

It’s a long list! But definitely flower shops, doors and architecture, quiet places of beauty such as a tranquil square or garden. As well, 

I have a particular fondness for cafe chairs and the variety of patterns and colours here is staggering. It is like a unique art form.

Do you capture the Paris you see or the one you want to see? 

I have to say I try to capture the Paris that is my vision of what I want to see. That doesn’t mean I alter it (or not much), I just seek out those parts that fit what I want to communicate about the city. Fortunately, there are many.

Do you have a plan to photograph certain places or do you photograph as you go along? 

I always start with a very detailed and well-researched plan but allow myself to veer off of it if something interesting presents itself. If I stumble upon an intriguing little street or shop or garden, I’ll always investigate even though it’s not part of the original plan. But generally I do extensive research and have a long list of locations and subjects before I ever get on the plane.

Paris in the spring, cliché or a real treat? 

Like any place, it depends on the weather. It can be cold and gloomy but on a sunny day, when the trees are in bloom, it’s definitely magical. So, I would say a real treat. But though there are clusters of blooming trees like cherry trees around the city, it is not like New York or London where they seem to be on every block. You kind of have to know where to find them. The best place is probably the gardens at Notre Dame.

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Is there anything you have always wanted to photograph in Paris but you have not done so yet? 

Always! I haven’t been to many of the parks, for example, and some neighbourhoods I’ve never set foot in. The list goes on. 

Image © Georgianna Lane

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