I lived in France in the 1970s. The French way of life was a bit of a revelation to me, coming, as I did, from the coalpits and factories of northern England. The French were quite formal people, I found, in dress, culture and language. Relaxation too was formal: around a table, at a sporting event, even in conversation.
Fast forward now and this past summer I found myself in Paris for a few days. One balmy evening I was walking along the banks of the Seine and came upon an informal Lindy Hop session. Maybe it was a regular event, I don’t know, but someone had rigged up speakers in the trees and about a hundred or so locals were jiving their way through the jazz standards. I was really struck: forty years ago this would have been a carefully choreographed event, with costumes, food, a band and spectator seating. Now it was just happening. I suppose that’s a good and inclusive thing but I did momentarily feel a slight shiver of nostalgia for the old days.
Well, I had one frame left on my camera and no other film in my pocket. So I really did have to go for the decisive moment in this one snatched shot.