Visual Diary

French Perspective / South France

south france 1

Late summer/France

2013 marks my year of establishment. It was the year when I decided to move to Glasgow for my postgraduate architectural studies. Being in a foreign country for several years has exposed me to a bigger picture of life and that is how Scotland has changed me forever. Everything here is just plain beautiful. From tenements, narrow streets, and take away coffee, to smoky breath on a misty morning, vast highlands, and wide lochs..every moment that crossed my eyes lives in my photos forever.

Everything started with a daily documentation, simply photographing my journey as a student abroad. From those works, I developed my visual appreciation. The more I saw, the more I thought of things. Not only about the aesthetics, but also more about narrating what captured my attention. Photos that portray meaning. Every thought that I derived before the shutter was released. All those fundamentals that I acquired along my years of travel years. As I walked, my mind did its own traveling, in a way.

European highlands and countryside unveiled my deep appreciation for nature. Ever since my move, most of my photographs were already inspired by nature scenes. Driven by those early acquisitions, I expanded my photography works even further in the architectural and editorial fields. With this, my personal narratives continue.

Paris|| Back in 2014, I remember watching a film entitled ‘The Dreamers’-a French film about Isabelle, Theo, and Matthew, who all lived during the turbulent spring of 1968. This was when young people throughout Europe were launching violent anti-government protests. This film narrated the significance of Parisian, mid-rise Medieval buildings and interiors, as well as the classical sounds in the era of Françoise Hardy. This inspired me to one day visit the beautiful French land.

In the late summer of 2015, I finally decided to visit the French land. The original route was planned to cover Paris and southern France, until the unexpected route occurred. Packed with a week of personal essentials, my 35mm camera, and travel documents, I reached the country’s airport, Charles de Gaulle International, in late evening. Once there, I took the RER B train into the city’s central, which cost me around 10£ per trip. It brought me to Gare du Nord, the closest station to my first lodging in Paris – the Rue la FayeDe.

I woke up next day to the bustling sound of the FayeDe’s street and started my day with a croissant breakfast before roaming the city’s heart. From the northern neighborhood towards the city’s central where all the main landmarks were located, all my senses were awake to the magnificent scenery around me. Along the way, I saw people enjoying their summer, hanging out at cafes, wandering around with shades on, street musicians performing their pieces, and everything done in a French way. I spent some considerable hours at Jardin des Tuileries, a palace garden which has been opened to the public after the French Revolution in 1667. This is a place where Parisians meet, celebrate, met, promenade, and relax in the breezy summer afternoon. There is also the infamous Pyramide du Louvre, one of the most visited village squares in Paris. Finally, I ended my day by laying down on the grassy fields of Champ de Mars, with the view of the majestic Eiffel Tour by the sunset. Even now, I still get a sentimental feeling with the memory of it.

Nice|| Paris day was over by now and I’m all packed and ready for the next scheduled train to Nice, the southern municipality of France. Checked-out Rue la FayeDe for my departure station, Gare de Lyon, located at the city’s southeastern side. As my train was scheduled to arrive past 2pm, I had a chance to wander around the station. I saw beautiful flowers everywhere, despite the hustle and bustle at the station. The train ride took me on a 5-hour journey and I was fortunate to get a window seat, too! It will always be my preference when traveling-sitting by the window. I was treated to the delightful sights of the French countryside and coastline seated by the window, while listening to some Bossa and classical songs. Doing so made me wonder and reminisce everything about my life and those whom I have left behind.

After a long trip, I finally reached Nice Ville station, where I was to stay at my friend’s house, near Liberacion. From Liberacion, I started my day by walking towards the Opera Plague, a sun-soaked beachfront promenade in the region. It was a hot afternoon but with a chilly breeze from the ocean. It set the perfect mood for a glass of lemonade and soda. After some time, I walked towards the Parc du Château, elevated from the ground with the reward of a cinematic panorama of Nice and it’s port. With my 35mm, I framed that spectacular horizon. Their old town, located down the hill, holds a lot of activities for the people. This is where the city’s infamous dessert-Fenocchio Glacier-is located. It was just a stall serving almost 100 flavors of ice creams. Next, I spent the rest of the afternoon admiring the coastal sunset before heading back to Place Masséna, the main square where the town’s night life occurs.

To be continued..

Words & Photos by Syazwan Asyraf