National Geographic Traveler magazine is celebrating its 30th anniversary this fall. To commemorate this milestone, we asked 12 of our longtime photographers to select their favorite images shot on assignment for Traveler throughout the past three decades.
Today, we hear from photographer Sisse Brimberg about the images above, which she shot for Traveler in 2010.
Paris is one of my favorite cities in the world. I love living there and being a part of the life in the streets. On assignment for National Geographic Traveler one Sunday morning I headed out to Porte de Clignancourt, where there’s a big antique market. It was during the month of August, when most of the Parisians had left town to go to their summer homes to find shelter from the sweltering heat. I thought it made sense to get there early in the morning in order to experience the lives of the people who owned the stalls, not just the shoppers who arrive later in the day. With street photography, I always have to be ready to shoot in a split second, so I always set my camera up for the right exposure and aperture setting according to the light. I always want to be sure that my shutter speed will be fast enough to capture the action.
Coming around the corner, I spotted two shop owners sitting outside their stall, quietly enjoying their early Sunday newspaper and book reading. I was clearly an intrusion into their privacy. They both looked up at the same time and sent me a disapproving glare. I took the photo right away when I saw their response to my presence. Afterward, I smiled and explained my purpose for being there. They seemed to understand and we spent several hours visiting and becoming good friends. They took me into their store and showed me all of their collectibles. I was very happy that I captured their expressions right away; otherwise, that moment would never have been captured.
When I show this photo in my lectures, people always break out into laughter when they see the disapproving looks from these two Parisian ladies. I was particularly pleased that the photo ran in the magazine. I love pictures that call for humor, and it’s very seldom that this is achieved.
Photo Tip: Have the camera set in advance as you start walking around, just in case you find a compelling subject and situation that requires a fast response. Shooting in RAW, I also have my white balance set to auto.
See more of Sisse Brimberg’s work at KeenPress.com.
Hear Traveler photo editors Carol Enquist and Ben Fitch discuss what they love about this image on Travel 365.