Documentary

People of Paris

© Marianna Glynska
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People of Paris
France

 

Paris, France – May, 2018

Paris… This word itself evokes so many connotations… Romanticism, love, art, philosophy, contemporaneity…and, of course, lots of stereotypes and expectations that are sometimes met, sometimes not…

I’ve always wanted to visit Paris. Not to see the Eiffel Tower or Notre-Dame (even though it’s speechlessly gorgeous), but also to be in the place where all the avant-garde artists used to gather and develop new progressive ideas, to feel that atmosphere… and, of course, to see Mona Lisa.

Being an artist myself, it was important for me just to breathe that air, the air of Paris, the air of creativity. My desire to go to Paris grew even stronger after watching the Woody Allen’s movie “Midnight in Paris.”

And one thing I promised myself before going to Paris was to stay away from all the stereotypes and not to have any expectations. But it was more difficult than I thought…

While already walking along the streets of Paris, I once caught myself on trying to see what’s the typical French woman or French man looked. Maybe, because France has always been known for being a fashionable and romantic city; maybe, because of the articles I’ve read about creative, romantically-looking fashionable Parisians with excellent taste; or maybe, simply because it’s almost impossible to be completely free of the stereotypes and expectations no matter how hard one tries…

Of course, not all the men were wearing scarves as I expected; I didn’t see the women wearing something extravagant or eye-catching… In fact, upon returning from Paris, when people asked me what a typical Frenchman or Frenchwomen looked like, not only did I have the answer to that question, I got convinced once again that stereotypes and expectations have become deeply rooted inside of us…

But it doesn’t mean that there’s nothing we can do about it. We can, and I guess, we should do something about it as they can interfere with the perception of the reality. Moreover, the disappointment that often comes when the expectations aren’t met can be compared to a rotten apple spoiling a bunch.

The reality is different from what we see on TV, read in magazines or imagine, but it doesn’t mean it’s deprived of beauty. The reality is the life itself, so different, so unexpected, and comes in all the forms and shapes, – yet it’s marvelous when we let off all the stereotypes and presumptions…

I spent two weeks in Paris, and every single moment was simply beautiful, – not only because I got to see the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame, Louvre…, not only because I got to walk in the streets where Pablo Picasso, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Amedeo Modigliani (and so many other creative people) used to walk, but also because I got to see the life in Paris the way it is now; I got to watch the people walking in the streets, ordinary people who either lived there, or moved to live there, or were like me, just visiting the city… And I found inexplicable beauty in watching those people and taking pictures of them. I imagined what lives they might have, what expectations, what dreams, what disappointments, failures and successes… Each person is so unique, and I think one can ‘read’ a lot just by looking at the person… All these people have their own story which is worth listening to, listening by looking…

People are the soul of each city, people make up this city, they define it… That’s why I think it’s worth taking a moment and watching the people who are next to you, the people who happen to be in the same space and at the same time when you are there….

People of Paris…. Who are they? Do they live in Paris or just visiting? What kind of life do they have? I don’t know. I haven’t spoken to these people. I merely watched them through my camera. And by watching them I observed the flow of life in Paris here and now, at this very moment, capturing it, enjoying it, and setting myself free of the stereotypes…

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Marianna Glynska
I was born in Kosiv (1984), a small provincial town in the western part of Ukraine. After finishing the school in 2001, I entered V.Stefanyk Precarpathian university in Ivano-Frankivsk to study linguistics and literature. While being a student there, I started attending courses of photography and since then have been hugely involved in the regional cultural life. In 2006 I had my personal photo exhibition in Ivano-Frankivsk regional art museum and actively participated in different group exhibitions

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