The Finer Pursuits

Notre Dame de Paris (and other adventures) by Hannah Harley

Today was a luxurious day of walking, riding, exploring. Just another day of Paris continuing to be such a magnificently beautiful and lovely city. 3V2A9589EDITED

Above: Looking towards the Île de la Cité

After an exercise with my program, a couple of my new found friends and I wandered over to Notre Dame. It happens to be just a 6 minute walk from my program's campus. It's not a "downtown" quite like Pittsburgh, but Paris' Île de la Cité is surrounded by water meaning bridges everywhere. It's not so different from Pittsburgh, right? 

Wrong, very wrong.

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Above: Outside Notre Dame

The French treat emotions entirely differently from Americans. From what we've been taught in our culture introduction and our time here, the French find emotions to be indicative of weakness. Overly happy, excited, sad, or expressive people are not encouraged in French society. When you express, you do so softly, calmly without interrupting the lives of others. You ought to be quiet, perhaps even coming off as reserved or harsh to someone raised in American society. For these folks, the French seem rude, but this new perspective has been eye opening for me.

You see, I'm not an entirely emotional person. I'm passionate, excitable, happy, sad, etc, but I'm not the extremes of those. In America, there is a strong emphasis on the image you are presenting others. Typically, we strive to be (or at least appear to be) constantly happy because we, as a society, consider happiness a sign of success. The French don't see it as such. The French don't concern themselves as much with their outer expression; they are more concerned with their inner personality, emotions, etc.

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Above: Inside Notre Dame

In orientation, our director talked in depth about specific studies that looked at the social differences between the interactions between French mothers and their children and American mothers and their children. These interactions completely shape how society thinks, feels, judges, decides, and everything else. Thus far, it has been fascinating. So if anyone happens to know of a course I could take about this topic, please forward me that information!

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Above: Bus reflections and Busts

As appears to be the case every single time I write a blog post, I wander off down a different path than I originally planned. I meant to give you the run down of "I did this and I did that and today we saw this and tomorrow we'll see that", but at a certain point, I just have to let the pictures take over to explain what I've done. And since I have no idea what tomorrow will bring., it'll be tough to really give you the itinerary for the explorations and adventures. Perhaps one of these days, I'll outline my blog post and give you each detail from the day.

But if the day isn't overwhelming, exciting, etc, why even bother reporting it to you? :)

Merci beaucoup for reading this, as always!

Just really quickly -- I am grateful for the people who have offered my the support to get to (and stay in!) Paris. You are all wonderful people, and you absolutely deserve a thank you right now.

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Above: Hotel de Ville

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Above: Inside Notre Dame

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Above: Eiffel Tower, me

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Above: Notre Dame, unedited

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Above: Cafe, me

Color Film Adventures by Hannah Harley

Lately, my courses have been encouraging me to experiment with color film photography. It's been incredibly fun, but I've had mixed results. I love the look, the feel, and the abilities of film. It has a realness to it that digital just can't quite match. These images are scanned negatives that I photographed for a monochromatic assignment in my color photography course. Huge thank you to my roommate for being my model!!

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A Shift in the Blog by Hannah Harley

Hello, folks!! So as I begin preparations for my semester in Paris, I've realized that I ought to determine what platform I'll be using to keep my family, friends, and wanderlusted strangers up to date on my travels. I've decided that this site, while typically used for my more business orientated work, would be a perfect place to include my written accounts and photographic evidence of my four months in Paris.

But with that decision, comes a dramatic shift in what will be published on this site. I will be sharing my travels with you and with that, I will be sharing my life on a more personal level. So before I start my journey documentation, I might as well catch you up to what I've been up to this past academic year. =

Fall 2013 was difficult and rewarding. I guess I hadn't expected it to be so full of (necessary) change. I had spent a large portion of my freshmen year in my room, watching Law & Order: SVU and playing Sims. I surely was not a candidate for "most involved". (While I wouldn't recommend this to incoming students, it was a delightful experience) But when Point Park's Office of Campus Life offered me the position of Community Facilitator (similar to an RA), I realized my days of Law & Order and Sims were over.

After 3 weeks of Campus Life's training in August 2013, a painful breakup, and the working friendships of 24 amazing coworkers, I had undergone an enormous amount of personal change. I decided in late August that I would spend Fall 2014 in Paris. If I could experience this much change and this much growth in such a short period of time, I could certainly work to get into an environment that would encourage even more from me. And that environment was, without a doubt in my mind, Paris.

I had fallen in love with photography in Paris during a trip with my sister in January 2011, so it only seemed right to return to the City of Light during my undergrad. I'll tell you the whole story soon.

Eiffel Tower

There was a lot of essential trial and error in film photography, friendships, artistic concepts, etc. There were a lot of people trying to find a nice way to say, "This isn't good -- keep trying."

Second semester is a blur. With softball, being a Community Facilitator, and a full load of classes, it all went by so quickly. I ought to thank my incredible friends who got coffee with me at 1:00 am or caught up at 5:00 am because I didn't have time during the day. You're all wonderful examples of excellent human beings. But if we're thanking people... my teammates, my residents, my coworkers, my family, my coaches, my professors, my classmates, my lunch buddy, my supervisors, my frisbee friends, the list of people who made second semester both the most fun and exhausting semester ever is extensive.

And here we are now!! A month into summer! 72 days until Paris! Ah!

I'm currently living and working in downtown Pittsburgh. I have THE BEST roommates, coworkers, friends, collaborators, and of course, the most amazing family. I'm constantly impressed by the caliber of people I've been fortunate enough to meet this past year.

With all that being said --- I am going to share some of the projects I've done this past year. Since most of it was film based, I'm realizing that most of it has not been turned into anything digital yet. I'll share some of it as soon as I find a good way to scan it! Until then, I'll share what I have digitally prepared.

Eyes - Macro photos of 8-16 eyes per image. Seriously manipulated using Adobe Photoshop tools to play with the "windows to the soul".

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Eye Compilation - 2

 

Eye Compilation - 3

Below you'll find some 120 film photographs taken with a Holga toy camera during January 2014

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By contrast, color digital shots of downtown Pittsburgh taken with my 5d Mark III.

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Below: Two shots of dear friends, Ryan and Michelle. Both taken on Ilford 50 with a Pentax Honeywell.HannahHarley - RyanMaineBelow: An in-camera triple exposure of Michelle and her ridiculously awesome pantsHannah Harley Triple ExposureThere's so much more that I've been working on that isn't ready for the permanence of being published on the internet!

Until next time!!! :)