Sly, Swan Lake, La Defense and Peeing

We’re in late July so things here in Paris start to really slow down … and will be dead once we get into August. It seems like the majority of Parisians are away somewhere for their summer vacation and many restaurants, boulangeries and small stores are beginning to close – sometimes for an entire month.

I had the honor this week of photographing Sly and the Family Stone, the Hall of Fame funk band that made their mark during Woodstock and in the early 70’s. I was a bit surprised at how many songs of theirs I knew. The band’s leader, Sly Stone, has basically been a recluse for many years now and this tour is only his second in the last twenty years so it felt special to see him.

In stark contrast to Sly, I also got to photograph the English National Ballet performing a special presentation of Swan Lake at the Chateau of Versailles. They performed on a stage set in the middle of small lake in the garden called the Bassin de Neptune. I can’t claim to have much experience with ballets but once I got over the guys running around the stage with skin color tights, I found the show quite beautiful, especially with the surroundings. You can see more images of the performance by clicking HERE.

Earlier this week I woke up before dawn and went to shoot an area just outside Paris (but still reachable by the metro) called La Defense. La Defense is a futuristic, large-scale business district with its main draw being the Grande Arche, a huge open-centered cube that is more than a football field high, wide and deep. The Arche is the end of the famed “Historical Axis” which starts at the pyramids of the Louvre, continues through the Tuileries Gardens to the monolith in the Place de la Concorde, goes up the Champs-Elysees and right through the Arc de Triomphe. If you stand in the right spot, and if the day is clear enough, the alignment of this Axis is so precise that you can actually see all the monuments along this approximately 5-mile alley. You can see a few more images of morning in La Defense by clicking HERE.

And finally, I experienced shock and awe this week in Paris. On my way back from La Defense, while I was reading my newspaper waiting for the metro at Chatelet station, I heard an unusual sound coming from the platform on the other side of the tracks. I looked up and saw something that really shocked me – an older man, drunk and disheveled, with his penis out FACING the tracks and the people (like me) directly across from him, peeing a solid stream of urine down onto the metro tracks. Public peeing is not so uncommon here but the boldness of this man to face everyone, including children, was unprecedented for me. After an initial moment of disbelief, my photographic instinct took over and I got my camera out in time to get a shot of the man; thankfully the photo is not so clear.

A few photos of the week …

Violin Couple on the Bridge

Monument in the Clouds at Place de la Bastille

Cafe Panis at Night

Hotel de Ville and the Moon

Hotel de Ville at Night


Man Playing Petanque


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Anonymous on July 29, 2007 at 8:20 am

    What a week! Paris is full of surprises and…liberties! 😉 xoxo


  2. Posted by Anonymous on August 1, 2007 at 12:51 am


    My life revolves around pee now and I can’t believe it. Grady loves to tell me “Hey mom, I can pee with no hands…wanna see?” Yeah, so that’s always fun. Perhaps he can pee in Paris one day if he’s lucky!

    Great blog. I’m always so curious as to what you’re up to – now I’ll know. Take care.

    Mrs. Steven Hecht


  3. Posted by Steve P on August 3, 2007 at 5:50 pm

    I enjoyed your photo of Superman at the Grand Arch. Have you ever seen an Indian in a full headdress there?


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