Time, in Paris, has a different quality than time anywhere else. In Paris the practical world disappears for me. I no longer think about time. I know each visit will end, I just don't believe it.
For the last 20 some odd years I have strolled, more or less aimlessly, through the streets of Paris absorbing details and impressions until they have become a part of my being. No longer remembering where or when these impressions, these tiny slices of time, became mine. The profile of a pretty girl turning a corner and disappearing, the smell and taste and heat of warm lobster bisque in a small café on a cold day, the sun on my face in Luxembourg Gardens on a warm spring day, and thousands of other impressions that are all mine now, like these old paintings and artifacts in a shop window on Avenue Daumesnil.
I carry my camera with me and record the things that call to me. In the early days I went out looking for pictures. It was never any good. I made a lot of clichés and I was not seeing Paris. I was seeing her reputation and forcing it onto my film like a tourist. It was only when I became a flâneur, walking around Paris with my eyes open, seeing instead of looking, that Paris started to be mine. She began whispering to me: "Look here, this is what I am.", inviting me in at last. I had misunderstood time, trying, like Cartier-Bresson, to capture the decisive moment instead of understanding that what moved me in Paris were the definitive moments, those things that happen over and over again until they become the very fabric of life in Paris. It is these images that define the culture and meaning of Paris that I share with you.