One aspect of street photography is taking candid portraits of random people for 1/125th second and then the moment passes. You do however start to feel a certain familiarity with them as you edit, share, print these anonymous individuals and often assign ‘names’ such as ‘Grumpy-Bloke-in Pink-Hat’ and so forth.
My last visit to Paris was in 2010 – I spent a few days street shooting including the artists and buskers around Montmartre. Fast forward to May 2023 – I’m just back from a short Paris trip and weirdly a few of these anonymous subjects were still singing and painting and being photographed. And after 13 years when I noticed them, I recognized them.
The Soul Singer
This chap has aged well from 2010 to 2023. I had jealously hoped there was male pattern baldness under the beanie but he was in fine shape and in fine voice. More chiselled around the face in fact.
The Greying Artist
In this example of improved autofocus, our artist here has maintained what can only be described as a luxurious grey barnet. Eyebrows and beard has lost all trace of darkness, but he’s looking well. I wonder if it’s the same bulldog clip?
In 2010, this young busker could have stepped out of a boyband. In 2023 he’s gone full Serge Gainsbourg. That hat may be a U2-Edge-type cover-up accessory but I choose to believe those flowing locks of golden hair are intact.
The Rugged Street Artist
Our bohemian street artist has maintained his boyish good looks but with added ageing Gallic charm.
And of the photographer? Regrettably I didn’t do 2010 and 2023 Montmartre selfies. I can confidently say however I’m a few sizes smaller. As with my camera gear. In 2010 I was lugging about a Sony A200 DSLR with a clunky Sigma zoom whereas the 2023 kit is a beautiful wee Panasonic Lumix GX80 with two very light and compact Lumix zooms.
Footnote – If I was both outgoing and organised, I’d have spoken to these chaps and shown them the new shots on the LCD screens and then the 2010 shots on the phone from Flickr or my regularly updated website. However the old photos were on a hard drive 750 miles away and I didn’t fancy trying to explain all this in Belfast accented O-Level French. Quel malheur.