Recently a few people have asked me when I "got into" photography. The truth is that I've always found photography to be the most compelling visual art form, and have been "into" it in that respect for a pretty long time. And I've been snapping pictures here and there for ages. But I think something -- a more serious, emotional something -- clicked for the first time when I went to Paris last year.
I've always been comfortable spending a lot of time alone, but traveling to a foreign country by yourself for the first time is a fairly big step. Photo was useful because it was a thing I could do that made my solitude feel purposeful, and it proved so absorbing that I forgot to think about the fact that I was alone. I was working very hard at learning a new skill, but the process immersed me in my surroundings so totally that the "working" and "learning" parts didn't really register. So the fact that my photos were getting better was sort of a pleasant shock after the fact.
Never, ever were my photo wanderings more rewarding than on nights when it rained. Rain does fantastical things to the city's famous lighting, so what could have been wet, chilly, lonely walks became a flight into a personal dreamscape that I could capture with my camera. There were at least two occasions when I wandered out for a quick dinner and didn't return until well after midnight, solely because I got caught up in taking pictures. I'm not sure these photos are technically the "best" from my trip, but they're my favorites, because of the way they externalized, and made permanent, an internal imaginative fantasy. Also, I love people with umbrellas.