French Kiss – A Love Letter to Paris


I fell in love with Paris from the instant I first landed in this city as a young man in 1975. I have now lived in Paris and photographed the life of this city for almost forty years. I have traveled to over ninety countries and photographed many of the major world events of these past four decades. Throughout this time, the life of Paris, my adopted home, has always reminded my heart and my vision, in spite of the difficulties and challenges the world can present, of how beautiful and wonderful life can be.

In my early years in Paris in the mid-1970s, I sought out many of my heroes: photographers Cartier-Bresson, Doisneau, Kertész, Boubat, Ronis, and others, and had the incredible good fortune to have known most of them, not only as a source of inspiration, but as close friends and mentors. In the early 1980s, I worked as an assistant to Robert Doisneau. The one thing that all of these people had in common that touched me most was a spirit that when one walks out the door in the morning with heart and eyes open, there may be a gift waiting to be discovered at every street corner.

As my own career in photography took off and I began to travel widely, I would always return home to Paris to walk with joy and photograph life in the streets and on the riverbanks of this wonderful city. Possibly more than in any other city in the world, the visual landscape of Paris presents a constant expression of the beauty and power of love, seen through the tender kisses and embraces that can be publicly seen, literally anywhere, at any time, and always.

Photography is about sharing, with ourselves and others, moments that touch our eyes, and more importantly, our hearts. Implicit in sharing, like a kiss, is a notion of love, and of giving. Paris has given me so much, as it has given to so many. This book is my love letter to Paris. It is an expression of my profound gratitude to this city and to the many people whose paths I have crossed here. Like a kiss, I offer here an expression of hope and love for our present and our future.

— PT