Election, Big Typo, Beret Baguette, A Marriage, MIB3 and Foster the People

The big news in France the last couple of weeks has of course been the presidential election here. For the first time in many years, the leader of the Socialist Party was voted into power. I’m sure Obama is happy that he’ll now have a fellow socialist to work with. 😉

French Voting Card

I spent election day in a small town about an hour away from Paris. I got to witness firsthand the old-school method of how the ballots are actually counted in France. The mayor of the town headed up one group of about 9 people and the local election official headed up another group of 9. Each group functioned like an assembly line.

Counting Votes

The first person would open up the small blue envelope containing the ballot. The second person would remove the white paper inside with the candidates name on it. The third person would show the paper to the group’s leader and then the leader would call out the name of the candidate on the ballot. The leader would then make neatly-organized, separate stacks separating the ballots by candidate.

Counting the Votes

Upon the calling out of the candidate’s name, 2 or 3 other people would tally the grand totals for each candidate. It wasn’t clear to me exactly what the other 2 or 3 people were doing but they seemed to think whatever they were doing was important. And all this took place under the watchful eye of many residents of the local town. The whole process was open to the public.

Tallying the Vote

I love typos. I seem to have a sixth sense for finding them, even in the dark, even in languages I don’t fully understand. I have a couple of friends with whom I exchange photos of the most outrageous typos from around the world. More often than not the typos come from menus at restaurants. However, this week while having dinner at the apartment of a friend of mine, a phenomenal typo fell right into my lap.

I was having dinner at an Italian friend of mine’s apartment and while we were having appetizers, a moderately puzzled look came over his face as he started to ask me a question. My friend is a management-level marketing executive in the auto industry and just this week started a new job at a firm just on the outskirts of Paris. He was recounting to me how his first week went when the puzzled look came over him. He said that his new boss at the company had sent out a company-wide email introducing my friend, along with a summary of his background and skill set. The boss was particularly proud of the fact that my friend was fluent in 3 languages, listing each language in the email. Here’s the beauty of an email his boss sent out:

“He holds a master’s degree in economics from the university Alma Mater Studiorum in Bologna (Italy)
He is fluent in French, Italian (Mother thong) and English.”

Mother thong. Of course that immediately became my friend’s new nickname. Love it.

I shot a really nice event that I had really low expectations for as I dragged myself out of bed early on a Sunday morning. It’s called the Beret Baguette Bike Ride. The idea is for participants to dress as people did in the period between the two World Wars, put on a beret and bring a baguette and do a group bike ride through the center of Paris to a park where everyone has a big picnic together.

Beret Baguette Bike Ride in front of the Hotel de Ville

There was no particular point to it, no fundraising, to fees, etc other than to just have fun. The event organizer told me that he started this event 5 years ago in response to London’s “Tweed Run” where participants wear tweed coats and ride through London. The organizer told me that he thought Paris should have the same thing but do it “a la Française” style. Then he invited me to join them on their picnic, telling me that participants had plenty of food and wine they’d be happy to share with me. Sometimes I want to strangle this city; sometimes I want to hug it. This day it was the latter.

Jumping with a Baguette – Beret Baguette Bike Ride

I don’t really shoot weddings. But on rare occasion when someone I really care about asks me, I’ll do it.

Some close friends of ours who have been together for more than 10 years and have 2 children together decided to finally get married and had a small but wonderful ceremony at City Hall, followed by a debaucherous reception in a venue located in a park with views over Paris called Butte Chaumont.

The Bride (and Groom in shadow)

It was cool seeing the actual ceremony conducted by the adjunct mayor and being at a wedding full of children and filled with warmth and love for the couple getting married.

Shot a few events including a concert of a group called Foster the People. Not sure why they exist but many teenagers seem to disagree with me.

Foster the People

Also shot Will Smith and Josh Brolin at the European premiere of the film Men in Black 3, featuring the talented Michael Stuhlbarg (who unfortunately was not at the premiere).

Josh Brolin and Will Smith – MIB3 Premiere

Some (a bunch!) photos of the week(s):

Picnic Basket – Beret Baguette Bike Ride

Beret Girl – Beret Baguette Bike Ride

Bikers – Beret Baguette Bike Ride

Beret Baguette Bike Ride

Blue White and Red – Beret Baguette Bike Ride

Sidecar Boy – Beret Baguette Bike Ride

Beret Baguette Bike Ride

Beret Baguette Bike Ride

Beret Baguette Bike Ride

Wine Holder – Beret Baguette Bike Ride

Signing the Marriage Book

Group Photo

Buckingham Palace

Band on Pont Saint Louis

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