Sunday, February 19, 2012

Loving alba and the world (part one: europe)

I adore all the photographs I have found on "We Live Young." Their journey is beautiful.

via *WE LIVE YOUNG* by nirrimi on 11/14/11

in the beginning (when our alba was only a tiny growing flower) we travelled over seas and continents to the city of love. i was shooting the next billabong campaign and m was making a short film. i was only nine weeks and tired, my belly hadn't begun to swell yet so i hardly believed i was growing a person inside there. there was so much happening around me that at that moment i couldn't take it in.

when we arrived in paris it was fĂȘte de la musique (the day of music). the streets were overcrowded with delirious french youth, swaying and singing along to the musicians in the parks, the instruments with minds of their own. it was wild and every person was an animal. unthinking, free. m and i sat with the models and the u.s billabong team in a little restaurant on a street corner. i ate strawberries and cherries for dinner because all i craved was fruit. we shot, we filmed and in the morning we left early to fly to biarritz. we only had that single night in paris, but the living flurry of the music and young streetlight-lit faces will always come to mind when i think of it.

parisian street

lindsay on the train
models stretching

we visited the french seaside town of biarritz next. we shot from the moment the sun rose until all the light had gone and sometimes beyond. sleep was short and dreamless and when i closed my eyes i felt my fingers tight around the body of my camera; i watched the day's memories through a viewfinder. 

m was selfless and slept even less than i did. he'd stay up very late; clearing cards, charging batteries, selecting images and packing for the next day of shooting so me and baby could sleep. it felt endless, my camera was an extension of myself and i ached for it. it felt good though, pushing myself and letting my passion get the better of me. this is who i am after all.

there were three models, all around my own age. two were californian musicians. they'd put on impromptu concerts in stations waiting for trains, by the beach in-between shots and in their hotel room when the day was out. it's what i adore, music for the love of music, completely unabashed. they were so interesting to learn from and to photograph. you can get right into someone's soul photographing them, so much quicker than befriending them. it's a connection that's difficult to explain until you feel it.

biarritz beach (by m)
bare feet and thrown sand
the three models and i, checking shots (by m)
balconies overlooking the beach
me hiding from mandy (oracle fox) (by m)

we were only in biarritz for a few sun-soaked summer days before getting a night train to another town (here is where i lose the names, as we shoot in a new town each day or two). but i remember that night train well. the narrow, barely lit corridors, foreign whispers and men asleep against the carriage walls. i was exhausted to my bones and so sick. everything frightened me. m held my hand, the warmth of love filled me and somehow i fell asleep slumped against the cabin door.

when i woke there was shouting and rushing, suitcases dragged over my feet. suddenly m was helping me off the train into blindingly bright platform lights and a world thick with cigarette smoke. a derelict, concrete station where we had a vending machine dinner and waited for our next train. my next memory is piling out of a taxi onto an empty road before a hotel somewhere in italy, falling in and out of sleep on the couches at reception.

every night the whole team would eat at beautiful restaurants. anything and everything we liked, the most wonderful european food. with sleepy goodnights, we'd go back to our hotel room and m would run a hot bath for us to sink into. we'd talk about shooting, about our child and about the beauty of whichever european city we were in that day. on the cool hotel sheets we'd cuddle all warm-skinned and clean and i'd fall straight to sleep, holding my growing belly. it was these precious things that kept me sane through the long days of shooting.

tired me at a nowhere train station (by m)
passing fields of sunflowers
sunflowers at a market in provence
dessert and candles

coming into italy (by m)

italy shined even more brilliantly than france. when i photographed strangers here they didn't yell and swear at me, they just smiled. in monterosso, cinque terre our hotel balcony overlooked the endless beach with rocks rising from the sea like creatures and bright-colored umbrellas like growing flowers from the gold sand. everything was the picture of summer.

one midday when we had time away from shooting, matt and i bought gelato (quickly melting down our fingers) while walking down the beach collecting stones. i sat in front of the water and wrote in alba's journal that the prettiest would be hers and that i would collect things from all of our travels for her. the water reached up and swallowed my feet and i laughed and felt so connected to this little being inside me, who i would one day introduce to the ocean.

my sleeping love
arriving in monterosso
(by m)

growing alba and i, 10 weeks (by m)

girl lying in a yellow slide in the sea

me, catherine and the roses m bought us all.

one day we hired a handsome boat to shoot on. for a while i sat on the bow, my toes skimming the surface of the sea, entirely bliss. we'd pass all of the old, hillside towns that made up cinque terre with their tall houses turned pastel from paint faded by hundreds of years of sun. i saw an old steam train billowing cloud disappear behind a hill and felt everything in my life fall away. all there was was the moment and the immense beauty of it.

the rest of italy was standing on a red roof in firenze city, street ballet at night, laughing in candle-lit restaurants, boutique hotels, chasing light with the models and recognising the colossal sculptures in awe through the taxi windows. the old world.

jocelyn and the camera she lost
view from the bow, towns of cinque terre

cinque terre hike (by m)
young girl photographing a man with a bouquet of roses
unwillingly photographed youth
red roofs in the city of florence
the town through taxi windows (by m)

the flight home was long and i fell sick. the sickness welled up where i imagined my little one laying and i prayed she wasn't feeling any hurt. i put my palms over her and i sent her all my love and warmth. i imagined the day i would hold her and look into her eyes and it made me cry. she was mine and i'd do anything to keep her from hurt.

on the long train ride back to the mountains i fell asleep with m holding his hand over our alba. i dreamt of the places we'd take her when she was born, and kept imagining long after we'd arrived. i can't wait to show you the world, baby.

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