Stitch Merchant


London vs. Paris vs. Lunenburg

Paris 1990 • London 2005Have you seen London vs. Paris? I found the link over at chookooloonks one day. The title was enough to pull me in but the photographs are what keep me going back again and again. I love the contrast and similarities of the images that both Xanthe and Irène (two very talented photographers) bring together.

I have a soft spot for both of those cities.

March of 1990 was a good month. I was sixteen, I got my driver's licence, I got my braces off and I went to Paris. It was a school trip but we were only required to be a part of the group for breakfast and supper. The rest of the day was ours to go and do whatever we wanted. It was freedom like I had never felt before. We did everything that you'd expect: we ate crêpes and baguettes like there was no tomorrow, we went up the Eiffel tower twice, mustered through our conversations with our high-school French, got off at the wrong subway stop and found ourselves in the red light district (only once) and so many other things that I'm sure I can't remember. The thing that surprised me most about being there was how comfortable I was. I really felt like I belonged there. I loved it. Every minute. To this day, I still get a terrible homesickness for Paris in the spring.

I didn't take another trip for fifteen years. Brad surprised me with a vacation. He knew how much I wanted to go back to Paris but London was on sale instead. So we went to London and I don't regret it for a second. I fell in love with London just like I did with Paris. For most of the same reasons and a few different ones, too. Again, the artwork blew my mind and so did the freedom – it was the first time I had been away from the girls with no other responsibilities and I settled right in. That trip was in March just like the trip to Paris was. It's nice that I only get the homesickness once a year but now that there are two cities to miss I get it twice as bad.

The trip after that was four years later when we came to Nova Scotia. Clearly I fell in love with it here, too. Not for the same reasons as London and Paris but just as hard.

A short while ago, Traffic Light came up on London vs. Paris. After seeing their beautiful images my mind drifted into my small town and I tried to picture what a photograph of a traffic light in Lunenburg would look like. That's when I realized that our only traffic light is a flashing red at the bottom of the hill. It was the absurdity of the comparison that made me laugh.

With my love of these three great places and the genius of Xanthe and Irène paving the way, I'm going to be posting my own Lunenburg version of their word. I have a little catching up to do but with the need to take a picture every day it shouldn't take me too long.

Many thanks to Xanthe and Irène for letting me use their project as a springboard for this one.