The following photo stories are an except form Valérie Jardin’s latest book titled Teaching Moments. These stories give you an intimate insight into the author’s thought and creative process from visualization to capture. Each story is an educational experience in some of Valérie’s favorite cities around the world.
I was enjoying a day off with a friend between two workshops. We were sitting inside a café (always choose a window seat!). I had spotted a photo op on my way in (always have an ulterior motive) so I picked the best seat in hopes to get a shot or two. The woman spent a fair amount of time on her phone, which was not picture-worthy in my opinion. She lit a cigarette and was still on her phone…I waited. Soon enough, she put the phone down and enjoyed a moment of peace. I waited for the ‘smoker’s gesture’ and had my shot. The reflections on the window give a sense that I am shooting through glass, looking out. The signage, and the Parisian elegance of the woman give a sense of place.
I enjoyed my coffee and the conversation with my friend. The good thing about hanging out with photographers is that no one will feel offended if you are distracted for a good cause!
©Valérie Jardin Fujifilm X100F 23mm f/2.8 1/200sec. ISO 320
It was late afternoon in January. I had just crossed the Cour Carrée at Le Louvre when the beautiful sunlight hit my face as I was coming through the dark passageway. I walked a few more feet and looked back. Sure enough, the light was hitting just at head level of the few people that were coming through. Light is fleeting and I knew it was only going to last a few more minutes. I watched faces in the crowd and spotted this young woman in the evening light. I pressed the shutter and kept the long shadows really deep and dark in contrast to her brightly lit face. The deep shadows create mystery. The large negative space makes a strong statement. Don’t be afraid to be bold!
©Valérie Jardin Fujifilm X100V 23mm ISO 160 1/200 f/5
Summer 2019…What an amazing week with wonderful friends it was. The day before the workshop started I was exploring the less traveled streets of the city with two really good friends when I saw a ladder from a distance. Nothing special, and definitely nothing worth a picture, until I got closer and looked up. In that fraction of a second the arm of the man on the ladder who was fixing the ‘pointing hand’ neon sign was in perfect alignment with the sign. I couldn’t believe my eyes! I raised my camera and clicked the shutter. I had it! The decisive moment that the street photographer lives for. The moment lasted a second at most and was gone forever. This photograph is one of my most satisfying moments behind the camera. Not because of its ‘wow’ factor, but because of its merit. This is when vision, preparation and reaction meet serendipity in a fraction of a second—the single frame shot that didn’t get away!
©Valérie Jardin Fujifilm X100F 23mm ISO 200 1/420 f/4
It was my last night in Havana. After an amazing 6 days roaming its streets with my camera and meeting so many lovely people, I got caught in an epic storm. The streets were glistening. I was with a photographer friend, but in situations like this, it’s a common understanding between photographers to walk in different directions for a while to capture our own vision of the scene without disruption or distraction. The streets were dark except for the occasional bright street lamp. I chose to stand at an intersection for a while and make good use of the back-lit crossing. Within a few seconds a woman on a bicycle holding an umbrella crossed my frame. The mood of this photograph brings me right back to this amazing evening on the streets of Havana.
©Valérie Jardin Fujifilm X100F 23mm ISO 6400 1/45 f/2
These stories and more can be found in Valérie’s latest book: Teaching Moments: The Creative Vision Behind The Lens Series – Volume II