In the Street with Clara Abi Nader

« Pigalle y a ce côté un peu... »
"Pigalle has this little side"
Brèves de rue, Paris

« Oui Jacques, je suis dans le bus »
"Yes Jacques, I am on the bus."
Brèves de rue, Paris

« Et tu as pu trouver une chambra à l'hôtel? »
"And were you able to get a hotel room?"
Brèves de rue, Paris

« J'étais encore plus dans le merde cette année »
"I was even more in the shit this year..."
Brèves de rue, Paris

It was only when I moved to Paris that I had the pleasure of really getting into street photography. While growing up in Lebanon, I did roam around the streets of Beyrouth, having that curiosity in wandering around aimlessly but always found myself going back to the sea and the mountains instead. Paris had something else to offer me. For seven years, I accumulated images, my photography evolved technically and artistically, but one thing remained: film. Though I knew something was missing, a picture alone just wasn't enough.

You might think I like gossip, you might say I like to watch people, and deep down it may be true, but it's not just about that. Some days I get bored or find myself brooding like crazy, and I only want to escape. Going out into the streets with my camera helps me calm down step after step, and while looking around me, these dark clouds evaporate. Observing the world reminds me of that pleasure again: I regain a taste for life, for my life, which is that of being there, of being a witness to the lives of others. People ask "What do you do for a living?" Without saying anything, I sometimes point my camera wrapped around my wrist. "Oh, yes. And what do you photograph?" Well, this, this and that! The simple things about life, a man walking his dog, kids playing around, people taking the bus, having a coffee, people waiting, people talking... Once you've got your story, the rest is all about light, movement and framing.

« Une semaine aprés, le chat avait disparu... »
"A week later, the cat had gone missing..."
Brèves de rue, Paris

« Ah! Tu me fais plaisir »
"Ah! You make me happy"
Brèves de rue, Paris

« Tu parles toujours de cette fille »
"You always talk about this girl"
Brèves de rue, Paris

« Tu aimes bien les voitures bleue »
"You really like blue cars"
Brèves de rue, Paris

« On va boire un verre? »
"Let’s go for a drink?"
Brèves de rue, Paris

« Madam! Madam! Il m'attaquat le chien! »
"Madam! Madam! The dog was attacking me!"
Brèves de rue, Paris

Clara dans la rue was born in this city: a collection of short street stories, a fiction taken from reality, illustrated by a photograph to which I add a sentence hovered over during my daily walks. I then recreate a different situation, where humour and ambiguity intermingle in moments that have gone unnoticed, almost banal.

Most of my inspiration probably comes from cinema, the Nouvelle Vague française, having watched Truffaut, Rohmer and Godard, and spending enough time in French Bistros, listening to the many random conversations that happen all around me.

I built that series around social media, specifically Instagram. After few months, I started making some small prints that I would leave on the bus, in the metro or random cafés, with a stamp of my hashtag claradanslarue, for people to find the project if they wanted. Sometimes they do, most of the time they probably don't, but the greatest pleasure is when I see them picking the photo up and putting it in their book, and that for me is the greatest thing they could do with it.

« Oui, je vois la Tour Montparnasse »
"Yes, I can see the Montparnasse building"
Brèves de rue, Paris

« Quai de plus con qu'un touriste »
"What is dumber than a tourist"
Brèves de rue, Paris

« J’aime pas la mer... »
"I don’t like the sea..."
Brèves de rue, Paris

« Je ne sais pas. Je n'ai pas encore d'heure précise. »
"I don’t know. I don’t have the exact time yet."
Brèves de rue, Paris

« Donc oui, il se passe des choses... »
"So yes, stuff are happening..."
Brèves de rue, Paris

« Cher Monsieur, est-ce que vouslez un café? »
"Dear sir, would you like a coffee?"
Brèves de rue, Paris

 

You can view more of Clara's series « Clara Dans le Rue »‚ on it's own Instagram, and follow her personal work at @claraabinader

 

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About the Author : Clara Abi Nader

Clara is a photographer guide at Aperture Tours Paris. She is a graduate of Photography from the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts, and she likes to develop a sense of narrative in the cinematic images she creates. She enjoys turning the mundane into magnificence.