Meet the Man Behind the Camera: Spirit of Paris

If you’ve had a chance to catch a peek at some of Michel Colson’s photos on the site Spirit of Paris, maybe you were as curious as I was about the ‘man behind the camera’.

Here’s what Michel Colson had to say when I asked if he’d share his perspective of Paris as a born and bred Parisian sees the city:

“ First, I love Paris. It’s my village. I was born here a long time ago. Second, I try to photograph things. The result is this photoblog (Spirit of Paris). There are many sites showing daily photos of a city, but I prefer to show an unusual aspect of Paris with an ‘artistic’ point of view. So I post only one or two photos a month.”

(So naturally, Paris Girl responds, “Tell me more!”)

“I’m French and I was born in Paris 50 years ago. I grew up in the Batignolles area of Paris, just behind Gare Saint Lazare. But now I’m lucky enough to live in a flat in the Latin Quarter, not far from the Seine and Notre Dame.




This area is filled with tourists coming from everywhere. It’s really pleasant to have these people walking and crowding the streets. The bad things are the cars and the buses parking with the engines on.

So for the past thirty five years, I’ve been walking through Paris with a camera. It may sound arrogant, but I think I know every stone of it.

Digital camers and websites gave me the opportunity to show my pictures on the internet. I just wanted to show Paris with her best clothes. Dark blue evening sky with golden lights. And since I try to post a new picture each week. Wondering what will be the next one, I just let Providence pull the trigger.

Spirit of Paris attracts between 300 to 800 different visitors day, depending how Google ranks my photos. Apart from taking pictures, I’m learning to draw, so I often go to the Louvre or Orsay to copy (as much as I can) the masters.

Sometimes I guide American tourists in Paris, showing them places not described in the books and showing them the real life. I like their faces when I push open a door and they discover behind the door a place that seems to come out of another era. I always try to make them discover places they have seen only on TV or in motion pictures and I try to tell them the history of the place. It’s very pleasant to help people discover your village.

I still have zillions of things to tell you. But that’s all for today.”

Paris Logue reader, are you hooked? I am and I can’t wait for the next installment.
BTW, I asked Michel if he would allow me to post his ‘Self Portrait/Photo’ and he said,
So, le voilà: The Man Behind the Camera.