Photography though held a special place in my subjects ‘pantheon’ – that of being accessible, anyone can be a photographer, all you need is a good camera. I had a great desire to be spending my time doing photography stuff, documenting faces, particular happenings, people on the margins, unusual interactions. I wanted to photograph the beautiful but not only, also what was less attractive and striking. I didn’t get very close on this first journey, but it is still work in progress.
Meeting similar people and being part of artistic groups was interesting but not really. From my limited experience of artistic circles my impressions had been of self-blown snob artists that talked with an air of superiority. They didn’t gain my trust so being part of their company wasn’t very inspiring. For some reasons conversing with people that write, rather than artists has been easier.
So back in those student days I invested in a semi professional Nikon F65 film camera. That was in 2001 when digital photography had just started. I didn’t think of the digital option as I wasn’t aware of it. I also believed I wanted to be a proper artistic photographer taking film camera photos, developing myself (which I did at various occasions in a squat on Rue de Rivoli) and taking such good pictures that the doors of the photography world would one day open and welcome me.
Of course being a student is often a phase in life when we have lots of dreams and ideals. And mine were plenty and varied.
I made a good use of that first camera. I bought two second hand photography books and embarked on a self-discovery journey of photography. I used to love going out in the streets of Paris and later Tirana, documenting things that I saw and struck me.
Grand father with grand children near an Italian restaurant ‘Casa della pasta’ where I used to work
But the self discovery journey didn’t prove easy. Photography is quite technical and I couldn’t quite turn into practice what I read about in the books, various focal lengths and depths of field.
So photography passion was superseded by Bataille and later on when I returned to Paris by my Master’s in Epistemology and Philosophy of Economics, a re-visit of my economic studies but under a much better angle. Major finding – I realised what I didn’t like was finance and not political economy!
Last stop for my first photographic journey was an evening in Paris on ‘la Fête de la musique’ in 2006 when my dear Nikon F65 was stolen from me. While I was celebrating and dancing to the sound of music in front of the fire station in ‘le Marais’ some very agile young men managed to isolate me from my camera bag by standing between me and the corner where I had put it. They won and I lost and so ended with tears and anger my first photographic journey.
Some other pictures I took back then are here