Saturday, November 13, 2010


En préambule, I would like to say that a few months ago I decided that this place would be my happy place, that I would not share any down or depressive moments like I some times did in the past.
It did not actually occur to me that this "ask me anything" post would make me change that. But I have decided to be honest and three of you have asked "how are you?".

So here is your list of questions and my straight answers

How are you?
Exhausted: since July David's MS has been incredibly aggressive. He had 3 major crisis, lost all autonomy and he is now dealing with a very strong and dangerous treatment. "Luckily", we live in France and the health care system is not so bad (still a lot improvements to make in the hospitals though). Someone is watching after him whenever I am not at home. As you can imagine, the three of us went through some pretty tough, sad and desperate moments. But.... And that's some big buts: our son is healthy, my family is awesome and very supportive, our friends are incredibly present, warm and caring, my boss and colleagues have been more than comprehensive.

Did you live in Tel Aviv?

No, my in-laws live there. We used to go on regular basis.

Will you be moving to LA for work?
It has actually been on the table but for all the reasons above I had to say no.

What exactly is your job?

I am working for a French-American TV production company which among other activities is dubbing and subtitling TV programs from and to several languages. I have overall responsibility for casting all voice artists and supervising the Artistic Directors. And also, quite often, as a former actress, I step behind the microphone.

Is there a specific moment in your life that you really appreciate, or that you really wish never happened?
I am not sure about the meaning of your question: would that be a recurring moment or a special one.
If that's just one moment, it would be the birth of my son (though appreciate is not a strong enough word). If that's a recurring moment, I would say that I really, really appreciate to stay in bed as long as possible on Saturdays (I hate to rush in the mornings).
And about the things I wish never happened: I have no regret of any kind about what I did or did not do, but I wish David would never had been sick and I wish my grand mother did not die a month after the birth of my son.

How it's like to raise a child in a big city like Paris?
Pretty great I think! We have many parks (3 in our very close neighborhoods including les buttes chaumont), tons of cultural, creative, sport activities that you can start really young. So many wonderful and historical places to visit.
The only thing I miss about raising my kid in Paris is my close family.

Pourquoi écrivons nous, bloggons nous, faisons nous des photos?
Why do we write, why do we blog, why do we take photos?

I blog because my friend Marie told me (repeatedly;)) that I should share my images on a blog (can I thank you enough ma belle?), because it has been ever since a wonderful source of inspiration, because it did make my photographs evolve a lot (I think) and because it is a warm, cozy and friendly place.
I take photos because I can't help it, because I love it so much, because it calms me down, because I need to.

As-tu parfois le vertige en pensant au chemin qu'il te faut choisir ?
Do you feel dizzy sometimes when you have to choose which path to go?

Not once before July. Every decision I had made before in my life seemed so obvious. I called them "mes évidences". Since July, everything has been so blurry, every decisions so tough to make. But I have the feeling that this dizziness is gone. I know the way now and I am back to my usual self (for a long time, I hope).

Have you always lived in Paris. Did you grow up there? Or did you move to Paris later on in life? Where were you before Paris then? Is French your native language?

I was born and raised in Marseille. From as far as I can remember, I have always wanted to live in Paris. I moved here when I was 22 years old (still pretty recent ;)).
French is definitely my native language (I am sure you can say by my poor written English)

What are your first words/smells/sounds that come to you mind when you think about seasons: spring, summer, autumn, winter?

This is a tough one;)
word: allergies, smell: none (because of allergies),sound: April in Paris by Ella & Louis
word: mountains (favorite summer vacation), smell: my dad home made apricot jam, sound: silence
word: birthday, smell: rain on the sidewalk, sound: laughter of friends around the table.
word: white, smell: tea (wu long 7 agrumes), sound: the "glou-glou" of the soup.

Who inspires you as a photographer?
Richard Avedon, Dorothea Lange, Edouard Boubat, Mary Ellen Mark, Jeff Brouws, Martin Parr, Erwin Olaf, Robert Doisneau... the list could go on...

What's a perfect day for you?

I don't know.... A peaceful sunny day with my family, friends, laughter, good food, a little bit of wine, and a lot of photos!

What makes you dream?
Honestly, I don't dream. I have the feeling that dreaming makes real life more painful.

Ton blog préféré en ce moment ?
Your current favorite blog?

oh..... I don't even have a blog roll. I love so many different blogs for so many reasons.
But a very special someone opened a few weeks ago a blog just for me. So I think this is my current favorite blog (and I can't even give you the address).

Do you collect artwork or paintings? if so, what are they? What languages do you speak and which countries have you lived in?

I just have a wonderful painting (remember this exhibition? well the artist gave me my favorite). I am afraid the only languages I am fluent in are French and English and I have never lived outside of France.

J'aimerais juste connaître quelques questions de ce livre... :)
I would like to know some questions of this book

"If you could spend one year in perfect happiness but afterward would remember nothing of the experience would you do so? If not, why not"
"If a new medicine were developed that would cure arthritis but cause fatal reaction in 1 percent of those who took it, would you want it to be released to the public?"

If you had to name two things you like about digital and two things you like about film photography, what would they be?
Digital allows me to practice more with many technical things, but with film, it's like I fall in love with photography all over again... Hard to describe it.
I don't know if if that answers to your question really.
I really have to buy a new good scan though. I can't understand why there is this grain on the scanned photos above that I can't see on the originals...

What is your favorite comfort food at the moment?

Pasta!!!! Always Pasta!!!

What do you want for your birthday?
What I had yesterday for my birthday was just perfect: warm, friendly, great messages all day long and a surprise b-day party. I really needed these good vibes around me.
And your presents sweetie, as always, are wonderful. Can't wait to have more time to dwell on these books:)

Euh, when is your birthday ???

November 15:)

What camera lens can you recommend?
I think it depends on your camera and on what you want to do. But I think my Canon 50mm/1.4 is pretty perfect:)
(and thanks for the recipe!!!!)

It could be the secret of your light?
Or maybe where do you find the strength to go ahead?

I just received your package and I am overwhelmed by your words here and on your note....
I think I am as depressed as anyone can be, I just try not to let my self down too long. People have always told me that I was strong since I was a little girl. For some reason, it really did upset me. I guess life proved them right. And, if there is light, it comes from Solal of course and from the love of my husband.

En conclusion, this might be the most intimate post I have ever written. It is going to be hard to hit the "publish" button. I hope my answers were not too depressing and not too long....


Leslie said...

First of all, happy happy belated birthday, dear Elisabelle! (Mine was the 11th. So we are both November girls!)

Your answers were not depressing. They were honest, heartfelt, and brave. I'm sure you don't feel brave (I know I don't, dealing with illness) but you are inspiring to me. I'm so sorry your husband has been so ill. I think of you and your family quite often. Hoping, praying this new treatment will help him. I understand so much of what you say and feel about living with illness.

I also understand what you say about why you blog, why you take photos. It is such a creative, supportive place. I find great happiness here, too.

And how interesting to learn more about you! May this next year bring hope, joy, and love to you.

azuree said...

Happy Belated Birthday!! Mine was also the 11th. It was scary to turn 29 and not the best b day of my life but I am stoked for the big 30 ( maybe then I'll finally start to feel like a real grown up).

Maggie May said...

Not at all too long or too depressing, although sometimes life as a whole feels that way, can't it?
I think you have a beautiful straightforwardness in your words about your life and I soak them up. I have read quite a bit about MS as at one point is was being considered a possible DX for me, and I am sorry your husband is having such an aggressive MS. I know there is a 'famous' MS clinic in New York, headed by a woman with MS, I wonder if you've heard of it? I know they have had great successes- she has written a book I found in Borders.

the first photo of flowers is just gorgeous- the perspective, the nostalgic beauty.

And, Happy Birthday to a fellow Scorpio!

kitchu said...

thank you so much for being so candid and allowing us to glimpse a bit more into your life and who you are (especially those of us who so recently found you).

this struck a chord as you took the words right out of my mouth:

"I take photos because I can't help it, because I love it so much, because it calms me down, because I need to".

and that even seems inadequate, doesn't it? to describe why you must pick up the camera again? one of them goes with me everywhere i go.

as for the scanner, i thought the grain was really beautiful. i have been asking our local photo shop to just put my negatives onto a CD, so if there is any grain, it's usually by choice when i shot the photo.

Lydia said...

Elisabelle, this post is so beautiful! You are so full of courage. Thank you for your willingness to be so transparent. I find you to be a very inspiring person. Happy belated birthday to you :)

between 7 and 9 said...

Happy birthday Elizabelle...I hope all your wishes come true. It's humbling reading about your struggles and your strengths as you journey on. Thank you for sharing.

Christine said...

Oh c'est si émouvant de te lire, merci de partager tout ça, je t'embrasse bien fort... Et puis, en retard, bel anniversaire... Des bises!

Gali said...

Ah tiens! Moi ça a été l'inverse. J'ai grandi à Paris (et Boston et L'viv mais Paris a été une grande partie de ma jeunesse) et puis habité à Marseille. Et maintenant je ne verrais mal habiter Paris de nouveau... mais c'est toujours bien de visiter, même si toutes les choses qui changent là-bas me brisent un peu le coeur (mais jamais autant que les changements à L'viv, il me faut toujours des mois pour me remettre quand je reviens dans cette ville).

Elisabeth said...

Elisabelle, it is good to hear about you and your life in sch honest detail.

I have a cousin whose husband has suffered with MS for the last twenty years. They ave three sons. My cousin reminds me of you, such a brave woman who goes of living even in the face of such hardship and despair.

Thank you.

Ida Nielsen said...

No depressing at all but real, honest and brave! I throughly enjoyed reading your answers.
Wishing you all the courage and strength that you need in this difficult time in your life.

And happy belated birthday :-)

Pascale said...

Non, pas du tout depressing... Touchant, c'est tout et généreux.
Ca rapproche, on trouve des points communs dans l'intime (enfin, je devrais dire "je"), du coup... ben, c'est chouette !
(moi aussi je ne supporte pas/plus qu'on me dise "t"es forte)...
Thanks miss.
...That's why i love blogs...

mirabellef said...

Je trouve , moi aussi, ce petit billet très touchant ... merci !
Je crois que je vais me laisser tenter par le livre des questions et puis, comme un petit clin d'œil de la vie c'est en écoutant (par hasard) la chanson "la question" de Françoise Hardy que je me suis plongée dans tes réponses... :)

Avec quelques jours de retard, je te souhaite à mon tour un très joyeux anniversaire ! Bises.

anna said...

Hey Elisabelle, I enjoyed reading this and getting to know you a little better!

May said...

Thank you for sharing your honest answers with us Elisabelle. You're amazing. I wish the best to your family. Happy belated birthday!

le blÖg d'Ötli said...

Un magnifique portrait. Riche, honnête, lucide. J'ai pris du plaisir à te lire (et à te penser en français). Et je remercie intérieurement ton amie Marie de t'avoir invité à partager tes images, tes idées... ton travail en quelque sorte.

A bientôt de te lire.

Ansku said...

Happy belated birthday!

Thank you for sharing such intimate details of your life. My sister was diagnosed with MS a couple of years ago, and even though she's still living quite a normal life (besides being really exhausted all the time), I can't help but to worry about the future. I must confess I'm somewhat of a coward - I haven't had the guts to read about everything that comes with MS eventually.

I applaude you for being able to create such happiness through this blog and your photos, even when the situation is what it is. I wish only the best for you and your family!

Novi On The Go said...

Happy Belated Birthday Elisabelle!! Mine was on the 14th. :) Thank you for this interesting post, I enjoyed reading it very much, an honest and heart warming perspective with words from the heart. You are an interesting person with a beautiful soul. I hope the best for you and your family, sending some strength and courage your way.

ibb said...

What can I say? Just Happy birthday...just that I find your words as mine...just thank you.
And come some day to visit...please.

inna karenina said...

Elisabelle, your answers were definitely not too long nor too depressing. I enjoyed getting to know a little more of you, and your answers were so lovely honest.. Thank you for doing this questions/answers post - too bad I noticed it too late to make a question! ;) all the best, strenght & courage!

Janis said...

Happy birthday Elizabelle!!! I love learning more about you, an interesting girl indeed :^) Thanks for sharing these things...xo

suzie said...

Thank you so much for your frankness and honesty. It can be so difficult to know how much of ourselves to give away…the internet makes us sometimes feel like egomaniacs and totally self-absorbed. I But I have really enjoyed learning more about you, thank you for sharing the painful and the light hearted with us, I am so glad I've 'met' you!
And happy belated birthday!

Francesca said...

Happy birthday Elisabelle! I'm so glad you hit the publish button, and hope that it felt good to you too. Thinking of you all.

maria said...

great answers! and big happy belated birthday!! sounds like you had a wonderful day. our b-days are almost on the same day! mine was yesterday:)

so canon 50mm is the one I'm after then..I really love your pictures and the quality of them, simply wonderful!

kenza said...

Merci ma belle pour ta franchise. Quelle beauté. C'est tellement frais! Merci... Et joyeux anniversaire avec plein de bisous.

Emma said...

merci d'avoir aprtage ce moment de toi avec nous.
Ton travail en photo se retrouve en tes mots et/ou l'inverse...
Courage pour les difficultes, joie pour les moments a partager, amour parce qu'il en faut tant et tant...

QUe les hauts te soient beaux et doux et que les bas te soient pas soft and not so hard...

Emma from San Francisco

kristina - no penny for them said...

isabelle, i don't know what to say. i struggle with that being strong/being weak thing too. i have a feeling the point really is the love we are giving and receiving, more than anything else.

kristina - no penny for them said...

p.s.: yay for 50mm lenses!

HomeCollection. said...

Une note personnelle, certes,
mais vraiment touchante.
Je vous souhaite plein de courage.

MyLittlePhotographs said...

First off, Happy belated birthday, I hope you had a wonderful celebration with your family. Secondly, I wanted to let you know how much I truly enjoyed reading this and getting to know you more personally. You are a strong woman and a talented photographer and I feel lucky to have come across your blog when I did. I hope you have a great weekend:)


isabelle said...

a very touching post ...

♥ w o o l f ♥ said...

bon courage à vous tous.

kristina said...

how lovely to learn some more things about you! at the same time, I'm so sorry that you and your family are going through such a difficult time.