Abstract, Travel

Reflections in Strasbourg

This past week we were in Strasbourg, France for a European Union reporting assignment. While we spent the great majority of our stay holed up in the European Parliament press room scrambling for interviews with MEPs, or in various meeting halls listening to lectures by important political figures, I did have one gloriously sunny morning to spend alone and in my element: street shooting. This short series of reflection photos is just the first of several that I will post from those few incredibly inspiring hours on my own.

Above, a group of tourists gather in front of Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-Strasbourg (the most intricate and beautiful cathedral I have ever seen in my life) as a shop devoted to Alsacian souvenirs displays dolls in its window.

Strasbourg was simply beautiful and comfortable to navigate even for me, as hopelessly directionally challenged as I am. It was my first time in France with any decent French education under my belt, and I quickly realized that I felt much more comfortable in Strasbourg than I’d ever felt in Quebec. I owe it to the fact that all my French teachers throughout high school and university taught me France French rather than Quebecois French (ironically enough), so it was much easier to pick up on what was being spoken around me. It was nice to feel so oddly at home in a place I’d never been to before. For once, I wasn’t surrounded by Danish, which is still completely indecipherable to me in conversation.

In the reflection behind the mannequin above is Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-Strasbourg, once again.

Although I’ve been in Denmark for nearly two full months, I still haven’t been able to set aside just one weekend to go streeting or even fully explore downtown Aarhus. When I first set out that morning in Strasbourg, the light was perfectly soft, shop owners were unlocking their doors, and there were just a few early risers on creaky bikes rolling over cobblestone streets. As soon as I summoned the courage to point my lens at a complete stranger and press the shutter (the first one is always the hardest), it was like quenching a thirst I’d forgotten I’d had. Suddenly I wanted to capture everything and everyone. It had been a long, long time since I’d been that inspired to shoot candids. But of course, it was the final stretch of my stay and all too soon I was buckling up for the 10-hour drive home.

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