Weekend 7: Crossing Off My List

Saturday was completely a school work day for me. By the end of it I was pretty exhausted. I had dinner with friends at Miranda and Shelby’s apartment which was really fun. We were all still craving Mexican after Chipotle on Thursday, so we had a taco night. It was amaazingg. We hung out there for a while and eventually went out to Nuit Blanche, but didn’t see very much. It’s a big city-wide arts night that happens once a year. Apparently it is pretty big but maybe we weren’t in the right area.

Sunday I wanted to cross more things off of my super huge to-do list in Paris, so I got right to it and went to Les Invalides. This building was originally a war veteran retirement home, and now houses the military museum of the French Army, a few other museums, a chapel, and the burial sites for several important French war heroes.

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I didn’t go into any of the museums and I don’t know if I will, but it was nice just to walk around. Of course I loved the chapel, Saint-Louis-des-Invalides.

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Now one of the main attractions of Invalides is Napoleon’s burial site under the gold Baroque dome. I wasn’t sure how to get there from where I entered Invalides, but you can actually kind of see it through the windows at the end of the chapel. When I first got a good look I couldn’t believe what I saw because it looks just like the Baldacchino from St. Peter’s Basilica which is obviously in Italy, not Paris. For a second I doubted myself, but I definitely remembered learning it was in Italy. I looked it up later and it is supposed to be a direct influence, so I’m glad I wasn’t going crazy!

There didn’t seem to be a way to get to the other side from where I was, so I left for my next destination: the Musee Rodin.

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Being the first Sunday of the month, entrance was free, though I think I get in free anyway with my school ID. Still, it’s definitely nice going to museums on first Sundays when you can just wander in! There was a really long line to get into the Biron house, so I wandered the gardens first.

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They are installing some kind of stage, so this was my beautiful view from the other side of the garden:

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Also, in the part of the garden with The Thinker, they play this weird “music” that is basically a woman humming and vocalizing. It’s really eerie and at first I didn’t realize it was part of the museum. I wonder what the reasoning is behind it?

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As I walked around, I found that I really, really like Rodin. He found a way to capture such raw emotion in an equally raw form of sculpture. He turned a really cold material into something fluid and natural. And those hands and feet are huuugee! I tried to take close-ups to show how big they are, but you really have to see it in person.

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After the gardens I finally got in the line for the house. You have to wait a while because they only let in a certain amount of people at a time, which they monitor very closely. At least you have a pretty view while you wait!

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The house is pretty small, but it’s great to see his process and some of his more famous works in their original sizes. There are also some great views out of the second story windows.

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There is a special Camille Claudel exhibition going on in one of the rooms, but no photography was allowed. I really loved seeing her most well-known works in person as well. They were actually much larger than I expected. The Wave and Women Gossiping were really, really green in color, which is given no justice in photographic reproductions.

After all that walking I was starting to get tired, so I decided it was time for a break at the cafe in the garden. I got some ice cream and it was AMAZING. I’d love to go back and actually eat there some time, but man was that ice cream good. I got vanilla pecan and chocolate. If you ever find yourself at the Musee Rodin, make sure you get some!!

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Next I headed down the street to finish my exploration of Les Invalides, but this time to the dome were Napoleon is buried. I had to get a ticket to get in but it was free (yay!). Being a student in Paris really has its advantages. My student ID is magical.

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When you first walk in, there is a tomb to your right. This is not Napoleon. This is his older brother.

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Like pretty much every other building in Paris, you can spend a lot of time looking at the ceiling.

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The Baldacchino I was talking about earlier:

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This is Napoleon.

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What a guy.

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There are really beautiful gardens in front of the dome. They have tons of plants I’ve never even seen before.

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This looks like something that fell off a Muppet.

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So that was basically my Sunday! This week is going to be super crazy for me, because I have so much to do before Thursday, when Shelby and I take a night bus to Amsterdam!! We are spending Friday and Saturday in Amsterdam, then leaving early Sunday to spend the day in Brussels before heading back to Paris. We are soo lucky that Dov’s brother lives in Amsterdam and is gracious enough to let us sleep at his house! I am so excited, but first I have a lot of work to do… for some reason even though it’s the first week of October, I have to write three proposals for final projects/papers. And do research at two different libraries. And prepare another PowerPoint presentation. Ahhh!!

Week 3: School Begins!

This past week was my first week of class! I was excited, but also as I mentioned before, I was reluctant about some of my classes. Much of that changed during the week.

Here is my schedule for this semester:

Junior Seminar I: Monday 2-7:00 PM, 3 credit hours
French I: Tuesday & Thursday 9-10:15 AM, 3 credit hours
Fashion Films II: Wednesday 10:30 AM-1:00 PM, 2 credit hours
Motion Graphics I: Wednesday 2-7:00 PM, 2 credit hours
Digital Photo Lab I: Thursday 10:30 AM-1:00 PM, 3 credit hours
Introduction to Visual Culture: Thursday 2-4:30 PM, 3 credit hours
For those of you familiar with KCAI, you can see the classes work kind of differently. Some electives are 2 credit hours, and all classes are once a week with the exception of French I. I still need to figure out what the difference is between 2 and 3 credit hour classes, because they meet for the same amount of time each week. Overall, I really like my schedule. I have a nice, long weekend starting after my last class Thursday at 4:30 until my first class Monday at 2:00. I also only have one class Tuesday morning and then I’m free the rest of the day. This gives me plenty of time to work considering I am taking 4 studio classes (a record for me) and I want to do some traveling on the weekends.
Monday: Junior Seminar I
I was able to have a relaxing morning and get to school an hour and a half early. Once class started we did the basic introductory go-around and syllabus review. This class seems to be my most intensive, but being my main photography studio class that makes sense. I am really looking forward to it, as I was surprised to learn we will be working mostly in film this semester. Luckily I brought my Mamiya 645 (a medium format camera) instead of a 35mm camera, because our assignments require either large or medium format. I’m also excited to be able to use a 4×5 camera in Paris, since I wasn’t sure if this was going to be an option here. Of course the cost factor is incredibly high here in France, but I just keep telling myself using large format in Paris will be worth it. I am already  super inspired and have tons of ideas for our first assignment, as well as the following assignments. Other than taking photos, a part of the class is going to exhibitions around the city and writing reviews of them. I am so excited for this as it gives me another reason to visit some smaller, not as hyped-up touristy museums and see what they have to offer.
Tuesday: French I
French is going to be very interesting. The teacher does not speak much English and teaches the class entirely in French. This makes me incredibly glad to have some basic knowledge of the language’s spelling, grammar, and introductory vocabulary. I feel like I have a good grasp of how the language works grammatically, I just don’t have a large vocabulary or confidence in speaking it. Since this was only the first class, I’m not sure at this point how things will go.
Wednesday: Fashion Films II
Okay, the title of this class is really misleading. This is the class that the head of the department recommended I take, and I grudgingly obliged because it had “fashion” in the title. Little did I know this was really just a film class! We are going to spend the entire semester watching and analyzing films while learning how to write scripts, storyboard, and everything that goes into making a short film. I love films and have always wanted to learn how to make them, but I also found it extremely intimidating and scary. There is so much work that goes into making a film, even one only a few minutes long. The part that has always really scared me was not the planning or shooting process, but editing. However, with this class I get to learn Adobe Premiere Pro, which I already have thanks to KCAI giving each student the Adobe Creative Suite. So now I get to learn how to make a film, edit it, and watch a ton of great movies in the process! This class is definitely a pleasant surprise and I can’t wait to start learning more!
Wednesday: Motion Graphics I
This is not a class I was initially registered for because it conflicted with a photography elective that the head of the department wanted me to take. However, my desire to learn Adobe Affect Effects was greater than my need for another photography class, so I switched. I am also really excited for this class because AE is a program I have been wanting to learn for some time now. Considering all of my friends are animation majors and I spend a lot of time in their studio, I’ve seen how it works but I’ve never actually used it. Now I get to join in the fun and learn a little animation myself. This class is in a 5 hour block, but it only meets every other week. We spend most of the time doing tutorials and independently working on assignments, so we get to work on our own time at our own level of expertise. I hope by the end of this semester I can say I’m confident in my AE abilities and maybe have some cool animations, too.
Thursday: French I (again)
This class gave me a much better feel for what it will be like this semester. It was actually pretty fun. We’re still just going over basics, but I think it will be really helpful. On a completely random note, as I was looking through my workbook I noticed in a section talking about professions and one of the examples was “Il est avocat.” (He is an avocado) I have no idea how someone can be a professional avocado, so I looked up “avocat“. Turns out it means lawyer and  avocado. If you wanted to say someone was an avocado, you would have to say “un avocat“. French is weird.
Thursday: Digital Photo Lab I
I think this class is going to be super helpful. It’s a purely technical class about Photoshop, Bridge, and digital printing methods. While these are all things I have a good amount of experience in, taking an entire class dedicated to them will greatly improve my workflow and make sure I’m not doing anything wrong. Plus, I want to get better at printing. We don’t have to shoot any work specifically for this class, so I can use it as a chance to improve either the photos for my other class assignments or the photos I take for fun while I’m here.
Thursday: Introduction to Visual Culture
I was not entirely sure what to expect with this class, but I think it will be very interesting. It will be partially conducted through social media: Facebook, tumblr, Instagram, etc. which we will use to create a visual dialogue of things we see or find interesting. We will then connect them on a historical timeline. I am most interested to see the connections between artists across time and how they create a chain reaction of influence upon one another.
So there you have it! I am really excited for this semester. I am so glad I get to learn so many new things, particularly programs in the Adobe Creative Suite. I want to eventually learn how to use as many of the programs as possible since I have them and they can only help me. I also get to further my experience with medium and large format film photography, in Paris of all places! I am still waiting to hear about the internship but I am hopeful. It will take up a lot of the free time I have in my schedule right now, but I think it would be worth it. My next update will be on this weekend!