PARIS – I have not been to an open mic in a few days, and this post is something of a non-post, except to say that I had a superb day yesterday exploring the Rue Mouffetard and Montagne Ste. Geneviève area with a multitalented guy whom I met at the Galway open mic a few weeks ago. His name is Brett Walsh, and he asked me if I would be interested in being a photographic model for him for the day as he is a photographer in search of subjects in Paris, many linked to his love of music.Brett, in fact, is a wonderful musician himself, and I was quite subjugated by the songs of his that I heard at the Galway. And then I looked at his web site where he has examples of his work in art, photography and graphic design. The work was so impressive that when he proposed to me that I spend some time as the subject of his camera lens, I did not hesitate. I know at least one of his other model subjects, and possibly more, and I thought he did a magic job of photographing the guy.
So it was that we met at what Ernest Hemingway calls in his memoir about Paris – A Moveable Feast – the “cesspool of the rue Mouffetard,” known officially as the Place de la Contrescarpe. I have always loved the rue Mouffetard and surrounding area (the rue Mouffetard, in fact, is the subject of one of my early rejected articles), and I have been spending a lot of time there in the last few months. So part of Brett’s idea of photographing his subjects is for him to photograph them in their environment or somehow linked to their interests.
He took several shots of me with my guitar, a few of me at a café on the place de la Contrescarpe with my computer open as if I was writing this blog post, and some in other locations where the sun was kind. But one of the high points of the expedition was that Brett had remembered a cool looking record store on the rue de la Montagne Ste. Geneviève and had a hunch it would be a good setting – especially for me with my interest in music.
So we went and asked the owner of the store, which is called, “La Dame Blanche,” and is located at 47 rue de la Montagne Ste. Geneviève, if we could photograph me there. The store is a treasure of a place with massively high ceilings and, needless to say, a tens of thousands of vinyl records from floor to high ceiling. It was like stepping into a past time. And although the collection consists mostly of jazz and classical music, there is a nice little collection of rock that has some insane progressive rock originals such as Tangerine Dream and King Crimson.The owner was extremely kind, and as we left, he handed me an album to listen to, which it turns out was made by his brother, a keyboard player, in the year 2000, along with a certain Sebastien Tellier as a contributor as well. The album is Rob Amours. It turns out that this brother is now the keyboard player for the French band Phoenix….
In the end, it was a day to remember both artistically, as a model and for the musical discovery…. Check out the video I did of one of Brett’s songs at the Galway a couple of weeks ago: