One of the best things about going on holiday is having the time to roam around with a camera in unfamiliar surroundings. I sometimes struggle to find a fresh perspective at home so going somewhere different is always inspiring. Finding something new to photograph and getting completely lost in the moment is why I keep taking pictures.
Last summer, we house swapped in Bordeaux for a fortnight. House swapping is unpredictable; you don’t know exactly what to expect and sometimes you end up in places you wouldn’t have chosen otherwise.
Despite the post-Brexit exchange rate, Bordeaux ticked lots of boxes for a family holiday and provided a great opportunity to let loose with a few rolls of Fuji Pro 400H.
One of the nice things about house swapping is living in ordinary places and experiencing the local culture first hand. Photographically, though, the ordinary always looks more exotic in a different country. Wandering around Bordeaux’s boulevards and terraced streets in the early evening light, newsagents, cafes, patisseries and plumbers shops all became potential subjects.
In Mollat’s bookshop, I found ‘La France’ by Raymond Depardon, a little book that celebrates the ordinary with 401 meticulous pictures of unremarkable streets and countryside, the kind of places that people experience everyday and don’t think twice about. With huge dedication, Depardon captures the beauty beneath the banality, which is a good thing for any photographer to aspire to.
One day we stepped off the train at Saint-Emilion and a completely new landscape revealed itself in the morning mist. Vineyards stretched into the distance and stood out pin sharp in the brightness. Cycling up the lane to the village, we passed a group of workers pruning the vines. “Bonjour!” we called to one another.
It was so ridiculously idyllic that for a moment it felt like we were all in a movie together.
~ Paul Schofield
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