"If I have ever made any valuable discoveries it has
been owing more to patient attention,
than to any other talent."
- Issac Newton
My last trip to my Beloved was the perfect combination of the personal (très romantique), the artistic (très inspirant), and the professional. This trip marked my official debut as a staff writer and photographer for Belle Inspiration Magazine. My 1st assignment - to photograph a boutique in Versailles...
Due to the conflicting schedules of 3 people (Sylvie - the boutique's owner, Mimi - my fantabulous boss, and I) the only day that would work for all of us was the same day I landed in Paris. So yeah, as soon as my plane landed at Charles DeGaulle, I hit the ground running.
Luckily, my plane landed pretty early in the morning so I had plenty of time to drop my bags at 'our' apartment, freshen up, change my clothes, and grab déjeuner léger at our favorite spot, before walking the few blocks to meet Mimi at the nearby RER station to Versailles.
The weather was gorgeous: crisp (but not too cold) and the train ride was an adventure in itself! Walking behind the palace, we came to a few narrow streets. A block or two later, past this mural, was our destination.
L'Armoire de Camille
12 rue du vieux Versailles, 78000
I must admit that I was very nervous. This wasn't me wandering around Paris taking photos that caught my artist's eye. Every year Belle Inspiration publishes a special, extra long feature about one boutique - chosen from dozens. It's 15 pages long; only 3 of those pages are dedicated to the interview (+several photos). The other 12 pages are completely dedicated to photography (26 photographs in all). Of course, such a feature means invaluable exposure, new customers and, hopefully, an uptick in sales.
As I stepped into Sylvie's truly enchanting boutique, it hit me. I had to be on, had to give my 100% best. Moreover, this was a one shot deal. Unbeknownst to Mimi and I, Paris was in the midst of a long holiday - Ascension - thus, ...Camille('s) would be closed for the rest of my visit - no pressure right? Ha!
Coco's mere presence brings me balance and calm.
A wave of nerves hit me. What if I wasn't good enough to perform under pressure? What if my photography is not as good as I think it is, as Mimi thinks it is? What if my dream of professionally photographing Paris, making a career of it was just that - a dream? As Mimi, Sylvie and Mr. Gorgeous chatted, I knew that I had to step outside, catch my breath, steady my nerves. Get my mojo on. As I was standing across the street, breathing in and out, I saw my Coco just taking it all in. All of a sudden I knew - I could SO do this. So I picked up my camera, snapped on the appropriate lens and got to work.
This photo almost went into the 'no' pile.
But then I enlarged it and looked at it closely.
I love it! What say you?
My first impression upon entering Camille's was - okay...um...wow! The walls are painted a deep gray that perfectly compliments the unique octagon stone floor. You'd think that the gray walls and low lighting (primarily provided by gorgeous, handmade chandeliers and sconces scattered throughout) would make the boutique cold, dark and gloomy but the effect is actually the opposite: warm, intimate, cozy, inviting and welcoming. This tiny shop literally has gems (hand picked by Sylvie) on every available table, shelf, armoire and counter top. But it doesn't feel or look cluttered. As I stood in the doorway, I felt like Ali Baba standing in his treasure trove. Open Sesame...
I fell in deep abiding love with this lamp.
A stone bowl was filled with these myriad of eggs.
Who new that different breed bird eggs would have
such a variety of textures, shapes and colors?
By the way, this photos was the issue's cover!
[from the street, facing the boutique]...Camille's has two huge front windows. On the right hand side is this gorgeous tableau (see above photo). On the left hand side is an enchanting cafe...
Sylvie graciously made Mr. Gorgeous and I some yummy cafe creme. Cafe Creme served in vintage china, beautiful boutique, Paris, Mr. Gorgeous Coco and my camera
What more could a Sistah Diva ask for?
Don't you just love the pink marshmallows?
For more than an hour I 'shot' to my heart's delight - and I loved every moment. I wonder what Sylvie thought as I: stood on chairs, crawled on my hands and knees, and literally bent over backwards photographing her boutique. When I first arrived (after channeling my mojo), I asked her if she'd allow me to photograph her - she demured. But I think that, after an hour of talking with me (thank the Gods for Mr. Gorgeous' translating for us) and watching me lovingly and passionately photograph every square inch of her beautiful boutique, she knew that I was determined to capture the true beauty and elegance of her boutique. So, at the end of the hour, when I again asked her to allow me to photograph her this time she said yes, and I captured my two favorite photos of the afternoon:
Lovely, isn't she?
In the end, I took 200+ photos, self-editing them down to 52 - 32 of which were published in the final article. Soon thereafter, the article was published. Mimi sent word that she received overwhelming kudos from her readers, Sylvie absolutely loved my photos and has used several of them in her boutique's advertsising. Sylvie's happy, Mimi's happy, Belle Inspiration's readers are happy = I'm happy ;-}
I'm returning to my Beloved in June - for 2 weeks. Plenty of time to 'shoot' Paris to my hearts content. I wonder what Mimi has in store for me. I can't wait!
Vivre! Rire! Aimer!
My reflection in ...Camille's front door window.