Experience the streets of Paris during France’s annual mid-summer spectacular Bastille Day week. No matter when you visit Paris, the city is an experience of a lifetime, however the week of Bastille Day, which takes place annually on July 14th, presents amazing street parties, annual evening dance/balls in the firehouses of Paris, music, partying, and dance on street corners of every neighborhood, as well as a spectacular parade down the Champs-Elysee. The Paris Bastille Day workshop will offer students all of the street photography splendor of Paris which is a part all of Peter Turnley’s very popular annual Paris street photography workshops.
Peter's latest book, French Kiss – A Love Letter to Paris, is a wonderful contemporary portrait of daily life in the world's most beautiful city. For More information on French Kiss, see the New York Times' "Lens" blog's "Open Eyes and Heart in Paris".
This is a one-week workshop in Paris for students interested in exploring the rich humanistic traditions of street photography in Paris with one of the most prominent Parisian photographers today, Peter Turnley. Turnley, who has lived in and photographed Paris for the past 40 years, worked early in his career as the assistant to the famous French photographer Robert Doisneau. His acclaimed book, Parisians, by Abbeville Press, with a preface by Doisneau and Edouard Boubat, is a wonderful contemporary portrait of daily life in the world's most beautiful city.
Students will spend much time exploring and photographing the rich daily life of Paris. They will be exposed to the work of many of the greatest photographers of all time who at one time or another have documented the Paris scene: Kertesz, Doisneau, Cartier-Bresson, Brassai, Atget, Izis, Ronis, Boubat, Ronis and Turnley, among others. Students will visit many of the rich museum spaces for photography in Paris, will meet several prominent members of the Paris photographic community, and get to meet one of the greatest black and white printers of all time. Students will be encouraged to work on their own personal portrait of the daily life of the city.
The workshop deals with the humanistic traditions of street photography, and students will be expected to think not only in terms of single images in a fine art sense, but will also be highly encouraged to consider the notion of visual storytelling. Students will be encouraged to photograph the life of Paris and accept the challenge of photographing people, as well as the environment and visual landscape of the city. Peter will help the students with this process and offer tips for overcoming any hesitations or timidity in this process. Students will create a photo-story with 15 photographs on a theme of their choice about Paris or the life of the city. Peter will work with students in the choice of their theme, which can be very broad, such as “My impressions of Paris”, or very narrow, such as “The life of the Seine River”. It is not important that students know in advance what their theme will be, but they will be expected to accept the challenge of choosing a theme early in the workshop and sticking to it in order to create an interesting and coherent photo-essay. Students will choose at the outset if they will shoot their story in black and white, or color, but the class is strictly a digital class. They will be expected to stick with their choice once it has been made.
Peter will discuss technique, intent, composition, and the creative use of the camera. He will review and critique your portfolio, and works-in-process, discuss careers, getting published and give you an idea of where you are, and what to do next to become better. This workshop is for experienced photographers and photography students who want to explore Paris, while working with and learning from one of today's masters of photojournalism. This is an opportunity to be inspired by the street and nightlife of Paris and to produce a new body of images. Students will explore the rich tradition of the "decisive moment" and be encouraged to contemplate the themes of humor, sensuality, light, elegance, and art and joie de vivre of the Paris landscape. This seven-day workshop should be one of the richest experiences of a lifetime for all participants. There are lectures, presentations, by Peter and several of the most prominent members of the international photographic community.
Camera Gear and Technology
Participants will need to bring a digital SLR or rangefinder camera, a laptop computer, and a thumb drive. Two camera bodies are recommended, with a minimum of at least one wide-angle lens such as a 17-35mm zoom, 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, or 50mm. Students may bring longer lenses as well, but Peter will strongly encourage participants to use a wide angle lens in order to get close to the subject, which allows a sense of context, environment, and intimacy. A wide-angle lens that is relatively fast and has a wide aperture (1.4, 1.8, 2, or 2.8) is encouraged in order to photograph in low light situations. It is recommended that participants bring extra memory cards, extra camera batteries, and all necessary battery chargers for their equipment.
Students will need to know how to transfer the photographs they make each day onto their laptop computer. Each day, participants will bring a selection of their favorite photographs, or those they’d like to discuss, in a folder on a thumb drive, to the daily photo review and critique sessions. Students are encouraged to use image management software for this selection process. Peter recommends PhotoMechanic, however other programs such as Apple’s Aperture, or Adobe Lightroom may be used. PhotoMechanic can be downloaded for a free trial basis from
Students will be encouraged to choose from the outset if they want to show their work in color or in black and white, and they will be encouraged to stick to their choice of one of the other throughout the workshop.
Final Group Show and Portfolios of Past Work
At each photo critique and review session, Peter will work with each photographer to make a a “selects” folder of their most successful images. At the end of the week, Peter will select with each photographer from this overall “selects” folder, a final individual photo story of 15 images, which will be seen as part of a group final show during the last workshop session.
Each participant should also bring a portfolio of a selection of their past work. Approximately 30 photographs are recommended, and they may be brought in a folder on a thumb drive, or as a selection of prints. Students’ portfolios of past work will also be shared during the final session of the workshop.
This is an ideal workshop to bring along a spouse, son or daughter or partner. Non-photographic companions may join the group sessions and meals but are not involved in the critique or review sessions. Companion supplement is $250.
Peter has found three very nice hotels, listed below, all within walking distance of his apartment, where classes will meet. It is necessary for students to call and reserve a room in the hotel of their choice. You can also see each of these hotels on their respective web sites, and book on-line through a variety of sites. There are many other good reasonable hotels you can research on-line in Le Marais near Peter’s apartment where the daily class meets. Peter’s apartment is located on the rue des Guillemites, Paris 75004. It is in the very heart of the Marais.
6 Rue de Turenne 75004
Tel: (+33) (0)1 42 78 43 25
Fax: (+33) (0)1 42 74 10 72
46 Blvd. St. Germain
Tel: (+33) (0)1 46 34 02 12
Fax: (+33) (0)1 43 25 47 73
Two steps from the Louvre
25 rue St Roch 75001
Tel: (+33) (0)1 42 60 17 91
Tel: (+33) (0)1 42 96 06 36
Fax: (+33) (0)1 42 61 34 06
12 Rue Vielle du Temple, Paris, 75004
Tel: +33 (0)1 42 72 34 12
Plan to arrive on Saturday or latest by noon on Sunday. The first workshop session will begin at 2pm on Sunday. Flights from the States are often in the evenings, which mean you could fly Friday evening, and arrive in Paris on Saturdaty and give yourself an evening to get acclimated before the workshop begins.
The workshop ends at noon Saturday, with a show of the students’ final 15-image photo stories made during the week. Students are free to leave on Saturday afternoon. Those wishing to stay in Paris or France longer are free to continue their trip after the final class.
Research and Preparation
Research and preparation are important parts of any adventure. There are many very thorough guidebooks about Paris, and extensive information about Paris and France to be found online.
The first and last meals are included in the cost of the workshop. You will be a guest of the workshop for a group opening dinner, and a final dinner on the last evening. Aside from the two group meals, breakfasts, lunches and dinners are independent but students are encouraged to join each other in local restaurants and cafes. Expect to be paying around $50 a day on meals.
For more information about teacher Peter Turnley, please consult his personal website: peterturnley.com
Turnley has published six books of his work:
French Kiss - A Love Letter to Paris
In Times of War and Peace
Moments of Revolution