Grey for rain, black & white for sunshine in Nice

Grey for rain, black & white for sunshine in Nice
Sunny Old Port of Nice, Côte d’Azur, France, Leica M (Typ 240), Summilux-M 50mm, f1.4 ASPH, 1/350sec., f11, ISO 200

Oh well.. It’s been raining and raining again on Côte d’Azur for the past 2 weeks, maybe even more. And that’s nothing compared to all the tragedies that sea and rain brought all over the place on the west coast of France. Incredible. My deep thoughts go to these people who lost everything and are still fighting to recover a normal life in their homes. We should not be complaining after all, we had lots of rain here, but no massive flood or anything compared to the west coast.

If it rains for too long, then..

When I moved to France 4 years ago, I’ve been told people here simply get depressed after 3 days of rain. They begin to focus on the bad weather and it becomes the main topic of their conversations with others. At first I thought it was funny (Humm.. ok, maybe I should say “stupid” or “exaggerated” instead. Still, I was wrong) because I come from a country that can give you just about anything, anytime, anywhere. But I’m starting to understand the feeling here. Imagine after two weeks of heavy rain. This is something they haven’t got for several decades. Exceptional.

But now we get the sun back and temperature around normal for the season. I had just one idea in mind: get lost with the camera and start shooting. I felt like I’ve been holding my breath for way too long. I needed to hear that shutter on the Leica, and big time! So I headed to Nice and spent most of the day there, walking around, no brake. I started at Parc Albert 1er, Place Massena, Quartier des Antiquaires, up to the other side of the port, then the Corniche and Cours Saleya to finish.

The Sun is the blood in Nice’s veins

There were people all over the place, everywhere I went. Life seemed so light (no pun intended) and everyone seemed to take advantage of the sun and warmth. I love Nice for that. People really enjoy life there. The cafés are filled with people talking and laughing, everybody’s busy with their things. I was alone walking and thinking about so many things, yet, I felt I was part of all this beautiful decor. It was a warm (again, no pun intended) feeling that lasted until I left for home.

I had no precise objectives for that day. Just being there with no expectations was all I needed. Sometimes you spend a day out shooting and you come back with almost nothing. I always think there will be at least ONE good picture. If you’re new here, this statement goes back to when I was shooting with Pete, my partner in crime in photography. After a trip he would always say: “Humm.. I’m pretty sure there’s at least one good shot in the lot.” Pete is gone now, unfortunately, but I keep it from him and always remember this when I come back from a shoot, a day or a trip. And you know what: Pete was damn right! If you walk a lot and see many many things(Granted you do what you have to do behind the camera), you just can’t come back with empty hands. No way. There will always be something valuable after a day out shooting. The thing is to leave home with no expectations. That means no pressure, no stress, no frustration or pushing things. Opportunities always present themselves for those who are receptive and ready to “see” (You already know what the difference is between “seing” and “looking”, right?).

Wait a second: where have all the colors gone?

Since the past few weeks have been all rainy and grey, as a contrast I had a feeling the photographs I would make today would be very colorful with all that sun. Well.. yes and no. O.K., I already hear you about the camera taking pictures in colors, etc.. Yeah yeah, you’re right. The camera takes the pictures in color. I’m the one taking the decision to leave it like that or convert to black & white. Maybe I’ll get a Monochrome one day, but for now the Leica M (Typ 240) and Leica M8.2 that I have are both “seeing” the world in color. Like most humans, sure. The point here is that for may photographs I prefer to see them in their finality as black & white images. Personal vision or taste, maybe just a feeling. But that’s how it is. And to make a long story short, the picture I’m sharing with you today is black & white! It was certainly very beautiful in color, but it speaks to me so much more without the colors. I find it stronger. I have an emotion when I look at it. Isn’t it what photography is all about: emotion?

When I left Nice I had no idea if the photographs I made were any good. But I thought there must be at least one good shot from that day out. When I got home and transferred everything to my drives, I found out it’s been a good and rewarding day after all. I’ll share a few shots here within the next few days. Some of them may surprise you, and even make you smile.

Good Light!


© Normand Primeau