City of Light

Recently I reactivated my Facebook account to peruse photos of mine that are only available on that website. Yeah, I really should download those onto a hard drive, I know. Anyway, after I logged in to my account I instantly fell into the trap where I mindlessly scroll through other people’s feeds and profiles, attempting to match faces with 15 years of age on them with married last names. Finally I bounced over to my own profile and mindlessly scrolled that feed, mainlining my own memories.

One of my favorite reminiscences I encountered was perhaps the best photo I’ve ever taken. In the first half of 2011 I studied abroad in Europe, with the sole objective to travel as much as possible. I was lucky enough to meet a small group of like-minded people in my school program, and we hit the ground running with Paris, France.

As a group we spent our days drinking wine, eating bread, and walking the city. During one meander, I caught my friend Sam mid-leap.

My friend Sam.

Aside from being one of my favorite snapshots though, it’s also got an anecdote associated with it that I’d been on the verge of forgetting. In the days after I took this picture, Adam Duritz, the lead singer of Counting Crows, posted on the band’s Facebook page that he’d just recorded an album of cover songs called All My Bloody Valentines, and he was reaching out to fans to send in album art work for the record. Having a lot of love for Duritz (as well as a lot of time on my hands) I quickly edited my photo to adhere to the specifications of the contest, and submitted it to the Facebook page.

My submission for the album art.

Though my entry wasn’t selected as a finalist (I’m just now noticing that I didn’t even present a square picture, which is sort of a requirement for album artwork), I view the experience as one that opened my mind to the idea that anyone can be an artist. I did also get something tangible out of the experience, as I won the lottery that was held after the fact and received a copy of the finished vinyl record, so that was cool!

Last weekend I reconnected with this study abroad friend group in New York City when we attended the wedding for one of our numbers. Even 13 years later, every time we’re together we pick up right where we left off. It’s a good reminder that as wonderful as travel adventures can be in the short-term, they can also have incredible long-term effects on a life.

I had this picture printed and mailed to Sam without her knowledge. I’m looking forward to hearing her reaction when she sees it again. Small gestures frequently is a wave length I want to always operate on.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *