seeing

Looking through Lenses

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I’ve been in Paris for two and a half months now, and I am ashamed to admit that I have already felt the force of habit creeping into and obscuring my vision. The first two weeks I was here, every moment I spent outside was full of amazing things to see. Even something as mundane as the grocery store was packed with interesting details; I wanted to look at every single product and label. I was never afraid of whipping my camera out to photograph something I found beautiful or fascinating or funny, which covered pretty much everything I saw.

But of course, this doesn’t last. Even the flakiest people have habits, and the force of habit is a strong one: “We commonly live with a self reduced to its bare minimum; most of our faculties lie dormant, relying on habit; and habit knows how to manage without them” (Proust, 235). I have a Paris routine now, full of places I like to go, foods I like to buy, restaurants I like to frequent, and so on. Slowly the details that charmed me at the beginning are becoming invisible to me. Somewhat symbolically, I don’t take my camera with me as much anymore because it’s heavy and bulky; I no longer look at Paris through the same lens. (more…)