Little did I know when browsing the Internet on St Valentine’s day this year the love affair that was about to unfold.
Friends of mine, well established photographers in Ireland, had been admiring the work of Peter Turnley, an acclaimed American photographer who has lived in Paris for over 40 years.
Soon, I too was seduced by the images he took of life and love in the romantic capital.
While he runs photographic workshops on street photography and composing a photographic essay throughout the world – in places such as Sicily, Cuba, Venice and New York – the allure of Paris was irresistible and I promptly booked my place in a one-week course to learn something from this master of photography, who in turn had trained under such Parisian greats as Robert Doisneau.
Incidentally, his next week-long workshop in Paris, running from this Sunday, September 7, is sold out, though another workshop is scheduled to take place around New Year’s Eve. And it is not surprising – Peter’s passion for photography and his love of Paris jumps off the page, and is even more infectious in person.
While he has worked as a photojournalist in dozens of war-torn countries, he said that his adopted home of Paris has always reminded him that “in spite of the difficulties and challenges the world can present, of how beautiful and wonderful life can be.”
“Possibly more than in any other city in the world, the visual landscape of Paris presents a constant expression of the beauty and power of love, seen through the tender kisses and embraces that can be publicly seen, literally anywhere, at any time, and always.
“Photography is about sharing, with ourselves and others, moments that touch our eyes, and more importantly, our hearts.”
It was a week that changed how we saw the world, how we documented the world, and touched our hearts more than we could have possibly imagined.
Anne Sheridan is a journalist based in Limerick, Ireland. Read her full account here in The Irish Times.