The Price of Looking Good and Eating Well in Paris

Thursday, May 15, 2014 | Paris, France (map)

Luxurious breakfast at 61 Berthier
Back in Paris earlier this month, I finally had a chance to develop film, see the lady friend, and catch up on several months' worth of missed cheese and sausages. Oh yes, and blow lots of money on new clothes.

This time, you see, I finally felt like I was starting to figure out Paris.

Here's the secret: the City of Lights is really just one big conspiracy to make Americans feel our clothes are all several sizes too big, before presenting us with endless—and endlessly expensive—options to overhaul our unfortunately baggy wardrobes. (This is more or less what I've been doing for the last year, in the course of a number of trips, to the detriment of my bank balance.)

But once the French have you swaddled tightly in unflexing fibers (I've had little luck finding more comfortable "stretch" garments here), then they hit you with the food, making it even harder to breathe in the shirt that fit—by French standards—back in the store, but now clings to your abdomen less like a shirt than like a second skin. Duck confit, croque-monsieurs, baguettes, tarte tatin, lardon-laden salads, moules frites, more cheese than you could ever imagine... I fall into this bottomless pit of Parisian indulgence every time, without fail.

Rolleicord Photos: Visions of Rome

Monday, May 12, 2014 | Rome, Italy (map)

Rome overflowed with a rag-tag richesse unlike anywhere I had visited.
You can do a lot worse than a long weekend in Rome. That was what I learned back in March when I finally made my first trip to Italy. (See my previous entry "Roma!" for details.)

Though I had to wait (impatiently, of course) until last week to develop my film and see how my Rolleicord photos turned out, I was pretty confident that there would be some solid ones, given how rich Rome's textures are. From the cobblestones to the sidewalk cafés to smartly dressed locals to the omnipresent gelaterias, there's hardly an inch of the city center that isn't dripping with Old World charm, and oozing casual sophistication.

Not that I minded seeing Italy live up to its stereotypes: on the contrary, it made for easy picture-taking and even better eating! Enjoy a few of my favorite shots below:

Rolleicord Photos: Algiers Haïk Festival

Tuesday, May 6, 2014 | Algiers, Algeria (map)

"Haïk Selfie": A candid shot of participants at the Algiers haïk fest.
After four months of snapping away with my Rolleicord and waiting impatiently to see the results, in Paris this weekend I finally got a chance to visit my favorite photo studio and develop a mounting pile of film. (A lucky 13 rolls!) I was giddy to see how all 13 would look, most especially those I took back in March at the haïk festival in Algiers. (For background, see "Celebrating the Haik, and Debating an Algerian Icon", or in French "Traduction : Fêter le Haïk, et Débattre une Icône Algérienne").

I'm quite pleased with how some of the shots turned out—in particular, the "Haïk Selfie" above, which is undoubtedly my favorite photo so far this year. My thanks again to the organizers and friends who generously invited me to photograph this event.

Below, a selection of my photos from the festival: