Paris: Backdrops for Photo-ops with Peter and Riley Brack

Riley Brack on the Pont Alexandre III with the Eiffel Tower in view (Photo by Peter Brack)

Riley Brack on the Pont Alexandre III with the Eiffel Tower in view (Photo: Peter Brack)

Peter Brack at the Woodstock Hostel (Photo by Riley Brack)

Peter Brack at the Woodstock Hostel (Photo by Riley Brack)

By Theadora Brack

Celebrating photographer Man Ray’s upcoming August 27th birthday, let’s trip the de-light fantastique in Paris with two of my favorite photographers in the world, Peter and Riley Brack. First, though, let me offer a bit of full disclosure: they’re among my favorites not only because they’re my cousins but also because they’re both great lensmen and adventurers, as you’ll soon see.

During the final leg of their recent month-long European expedition, this dream team documented the rues of Paris without rest, capturing the city with infectious zeal and zest. Their portraits coolly mesh old with new, fully embracing a sacred new Proustian world of dynamic, overlapping, ever-changing juxtapositions.

As Man Ray once wisely put it, “To create is divine.” I couldn’t agree more.

Peter and Riley set the scene.

Peter Brack on the Pont Alexandre III with the Eiffel Tower in view (Photograph by Riley Brack)

Peter Brack on the Pont Alexandre III with the Eiffel Tower in view (Photograph by Riley Brack)

Exciting and New

“On the first night, I could have imagined a lightning bolt striking us with how fast I realized this was only the beginning!” Peter says.

“We were supposed to visit St. Johns, Newfoundland and then Reykjavik, Iceland. Unfortunately, due to icebergs, we had to adjust course, crossing the Atlantic on a seven-day journey to Stavanger, instead. Along the way, we spotted dolphins and whales. Once we arrived, it was cold. We knew the best activity was to get on a boat and see those legendary fjords! Enduring high winds and cold mist, we traveled on a two-hour tour through some beautiful fjords. Such an amazing experience!”

Riley Brack at the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris (Photo: Peter Brack)

Exquisite Pleasure

Two brothers. Thirty days. Seven countries. Planes, trains, automobiles . . . ships, too, along with plenty of  boot leather.

Fully embracing Antoine de St. Exupery’s “He who would travel happily must travel light” philosophy, Riley and Peter left the suitcases at home, and instead carried lightweight backpacks and Eurail Global Passes as they journeyed from hostel to hostel, making beaucoup friends along the trail (including, they told me, the occasional friendly, bell-garbed cow as well).

“We shared a magical Parisian moment when a man heard me singing en route to the Louvre, upon which we walked together for twenty minutes or so talking about the greats of Jazz. He sang some of ‘All of Me’ [Seymour Simons and Gerald Marks, 1931]. He didn’t have many teeth, but he had a warm heart and lovely voice, “ Riley said.

Jesus the mascot cat at the Woodstock Hostel in Paris (Photograph by Riley Brack)

Jesus the mascot cat at the Woodstock Hostel in Paris (Photo: Riley Brack)

Grand Tour

After launching their Grand Tour in New York City, destinations included Stavanger and Oslo, Norway, then Copenhagen, and Dusseldorf and Freiburg, Germany. From there, they wandered to Amsterdam, then Grindelwald and Murren in Switzerland, then Bruges in Belgium. And Paris, of course!

“We had wonderful and hilarious moments throughout Paris. It was a great place for people-watching and people embracing. I felt absorbed in the end. It was hard to part with this magical place that beats all other attempts in the world to create magic, like theme parks and eyesore tourist attractions. Paris was a finale to our excursion like no other. More important was the fact that Riley and I could be brothers in a way we never could be as kids. Completely as adults! The experience taught me so much about family and even more about myself.”

Peter Brack at the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris (Photo: Riley Brack)

Riley agreed.

“Between our many train rides, all those midnight cobblestoned wanderings and gift-of-the-moment impulses to get off the train in some town not on our itinerary showed me how much of a champion of flexibility my little brother is. Peter greeted every setback, delay and serendipitous moment with optimism and patience,” Riley said, and then paused.

“My admiration for him has grown immensely on our brotherly Eurotrip. Getting to cross the Atlantic and visit seven different countries with your little brother over the course of a month is about as rad as it sounds, especially when he’s as awesome as Peter.”

Pinching from Antoine de Saint-Exupery again, “True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new.”

Thanks for sharing your zest, heart and photographs, Peter and Riley!

Riley cooling off at a fountain in Montmartre (Photograph by Peter Brack)

Riley Brack at a fountain in Montmartre (Photo: Peter Brack)

Peter Brack in Montmartre (Photograph by Riley Brack)

Peter Brack at l’heure bleu in Montmartre (Photo: Riley Brack)

Riley Brack at Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris (Photo: Peter Brack)

BRACKS in Paris 601

One of the friendly, bell-garbed cows (Photo: Peter Brack)

BRACK All Of Me

 

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54 thoughts on “Paris: Backdrops for Photo-ops with Peter and Riley Brack

  1. Well done! I haven’t deep read it yet Just on my iPhone I’ve ordered nutrisystem And before it arrives I am picking up so comb fried rice for tonight and will read your blog while eating!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Downsizer Sandy! It was a fun post to create. I thoroughly enjoyed working with Peter and Riley. They both have a way with words and the camera.

      Enjoy the day!
      T.

      Like

      • It is one of my fav Theadora posts!!!! Besides Peter and Riley’s pics I LOVE YOUR :
        Pinching from Antoine de Saint-Exupery again, “True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new.” So true! So true!

        Like

    • Merci, Bradley! I also love, love the portrait of cow. Peter photographed it. Great expression and eye contact, eh? No barriers! (I couldn’t resist. I had to include it! . :D)

      Theadora

      Liked by 1 person

  2. How wonderful for two brothers to take such a trip and still remain friends! There are some who are not good travelers. Both are nice looking guys. You must have had a great time and Paris was the perfect finale. The cow caught me off guard too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know! I know! A month-long adventure trip with a sibling. Risky, eh? Yes! But what a bonding experience. I love studying their Paris shots. They were exhausted, but beaming. Glowing. Thanks for your thoughtful words. They’ll appreciate them. (Have you taken a trip with a family member?)

      Enjoy the week!
      Theadora

      Like

    • I agree! The pics dance! It’s really interesting to see Paris through their lens. I especially love the shot Riley and Eiffel Tower at sunset, along with Peter in the stairwell. Heck, I like them all. For top to bottom, there isn’t a dud in the batch.

      I knew you’d appreciate the sunset photograph!
      Theadora

      Like

  3. T, what great pics and Peter and Riley look as if they’re having a blast. I simply adore that cow picture. The others are gorgeous but the bell-garbed cow, well perhaps you should frame it. Hope things are wonderful in your world. ;).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Funny! I agree. You can’t go wrong with a portrait of bell-garbed cow. Yes, Peter should frame it. So regal! They’ll love your words, Brigitte. I’ll ask Peter for more information about the cow. There’s a story, I’m sure of it.

      Stay tuned!
      Theadora

      Like

    • Ah, I knew you would appreciate their street shots, Richard! Thanks for your sweet words. It’s always great fun to see a city through another lens. I loved how they captured city. Inspiring! (Like your work!)
      T.

      Like

    • Yes! I also love Riley’s shot of Jesus at the Woodstock. Perfection. The kitty has been there for quite some time. Years ago, I inspected and reviewed the Woodstock hostel. He was there. Jesus was a sweetie then. Jesus is a sweetie now.

      Safe travels!
      T.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Olivia. Oh, they’ll love your words. I agree. They’re both comfortable behind and in front of the camera. It was great fun to work with them on the globe trekking story. They are sweeties!

      Theadora

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What an amazing all encompassing set of travels for two brothers to take– they’ll always remember that month together. Thanks for letting us tag along. It looked like a pretty joyful time all around.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think so, Rhonda! Both Riley and Peter possess enthusiasm and curiosity. it’s contagious. It’s inspiring. (You’ll appreciate this: They also talked about the incredible meals. Of course, the bread was a hit in Paris.)

      Enjoy the week. And as always, thanks for your thoughtful words!
      Theadora

      Like

  5. All great shots, Theadora and so full of fun. What a look on that cow’s face – “take me with you!” The Woodstock looks so familiar, I think I stayed there years ago but I don’t remember the name.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Patti! I agree. I think the cow fell madly in love with the guys. It’s a sweet shot. I love her expression. (So you think you stayed at the Woodstock. It’s a super funky place. Trippy vibe! There’s even half of Volkswagen Beetle in the lobby.)

      T.

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  6. Looks like they had fun … Tell your cousin to be careful about letting pigeons sit on his head. They will talk about this trip for the rest of their lives. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Looks as though they had a great time, Theodora. I love the trickery of the first photo. Enjoyed reading that they visited many of the same places I did back in the 70’s, also with just a backpack and some Student Rail passes. Thanks for yet another enjoyable mini-trip to Paris and places European.

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

      • I went to Stavanger and Oslo, Norway, Copenhagen, Freiburg, Germany, Amsterdam, and Grindelwald, Switzerland, where I worked in the Jungendherberge for the winter. And Paris, of course! I was in Europe for almost a year, so I was able to visit quite a few places. 🙂

        Like

      • Did you take photographs? Did you keep a journal? Or a sketch book? (I just found someone’s Paris scrapbook from 1975. It is such a beauty. They keep every butter wrapper and cocktail stick, along with five coins. Receipts, too! It’s a wonderful time capsule.)

        Like

  8. I held my breath as I read the travel journal of two extraordinary adventurers. These are experiences that will become who they are. Never again will these youthful travelers look at the world in the same way. They are changed forever.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. How wonderful that they were able to travel a whole month together–hopefully this will cement their adult relationship. My sisters and I (there are 4 of us) take sister trips and it’s wonderful to be just us together, no other family, no kids, no spouses. Back to your cousins–such handsome young men, and yest they can wield the camera with the best of them! Thanks for sharing. Deb

    Liked by 1 person

    • Merci, Deb! Four sisters? Lucky you! So you still take trips? That’s fabulous. I agree! It’s a wonderful way to catch-up and re-connect with a sibling. I still take trips with my sister. (And thanks for your thoughtful words! I’ll pass them on to Peter and Riley.)

      Happy Treasure Hunting!
      Theadora

      Liked by 1 person

  10. An Theadora how much fun was this for your cousins – I get a sense that they would do the inside-trip of this beautiful city all over again if the chance was given to them tomorrow. Great photographs of two very happy brothers ~

    Like

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