While visiting Paris I decided to revisit my body of work City Canyons and explore how this work would translate to some of the streets in Paris.
I decided to use the same equipment that worked successfully for the City Canyon’s project earlier in 2017 which is a GoPro mounted on a chest harness. The setup appears to be invisible to others as I walk around the street.
The GoPro is configured to capture images using timelapse and then groups of images are selected to create the composite image. When I originally started to create, work using this method I had been rigid and always used 7 images in the composite however through refinement of technique I discovered that the subjects in the source images influenced the number of images that I considered as optimal for the result. The indeed outcome being to create an image that had a painterly effect.
Based on the last experiments with this technique I decided that I would only start the timelapse where I felt the route presented me with promising material rather than leaving the GoPro recording for the duration of the walk and requiring more work to select promising combinations in post-production.
The weather in Paris was not promising with heavily overcast skies but I decided to venture out with the River Seine and the Eiffel Tower being my primary areas of exploration. While out shooting, it started to rain. Fortunately, the GoPro was in a waterproof housing however rain was falling on the lens area this resulted which created micro distortions within the source images. Rather than recreating the City Canyon images I went with a Hockney perspective inspired approach to combining images.
I did not undertake any new technical research in preparation for this shoot instead I considered visual references when entering the editing phase I returned to the work of David Hockney on perspectives and used photo merging to create perspective defying images from the GoPro frames.
Assessment of Outcome:
The premise for the shoot and methodology where I felt reasonable however the final outcome was from the shoot was not as successful as I envisioned when planning the trip to Paris.
I believe there were several factors that resulted in a less successful body of work. Firstly, I did not allow myself enough time to explore the streets of Paris and find suitable locations. I have spent a significant amount of time in the City of London so the street is familiar so expecting to get the same result in a short time frame was too ambitious. The second reason was the nature of the urban geography the City of London has narrow streets that help create the natural canyons whereas the area around the Eiffel Tower consists of wider boulevards removing the proximity of the building facades that help in the previous work. Selecting a different arrondissements of Paris could have addressed that aspect. This resulted in an important lesson for me you need to allow scouting time in the schedule especially when visiting a new location.
The final element that did not work for this shoot was the weather, it might have been better to adopt a different shoot technique once it was clear on the morning of the shoot that it was gone to rain for the duration of the time allocated to the shoot.