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My guest today is Pia Parolin. She was on the French Riviera, on the evening of 14 July 2016, when a truck was deliberately driven into crowds of people celebrating Bastille Day on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. The horrible event resulted in the deaths of 86 people and the injury of over 450 others.
Although she would never look at the famous promenade the same again, she decided to document happier days again and started a series called Promenade Moments.
Guest Bio: Pia Parolin
Italian and German nationality, born and raised in Italy, study of biology in Germany, PhD in ecology. I lived many years in the Amazon for my studies. I work with students in international projects, with local fishermen on the interactions in the flooded forests, and in Europe I make research to find alternatives to pesticide use. Besides being a passionate tropical ecologist, I always carry my camera with me since the day of my first communion when my beloved father gave me the first Minolta at the age of 9. Only recently I discovered street photography, and living for twelve years on the French Riviera inspired me to capture the moments of relax and dynamics on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice only a few months after the terrorist attacks, where my two adolescent kids were enjoying the festivities and fortunately could sleep in the house of other people that night that changed the life of so many other families. Let life go on with its colours and movements. ~ Pia Parolin
About the Project
“Promenade Moments” is a series of dozens of colourful pictures taken on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, French Riviera, a year after the murderer attack which caused the death of 86 and injury of 458 persons on the waterfront on the 14th of July 2016, the French Bastille Day celebrations. Many persons, many families, many lives will never be the same again. That night, thousands of people gathered on the prom’ in Nice with fireworks to celebrate France, the free life, the happiness of a free democratic responsible country. Both my teenager children and my aupair girl were there that night, and we talked on the phone the whole night long. I wanted to pick them up, but it would not have made sense to drive to Nice, everything was blocked and in chaos and fear. My three kids could stay in the houses of foreign people. The day after I went to Nice by car, it took me forever, police and determined people everywhere, helping where they could. I brought my kids back - after hours we arrived at home, only 20 km away, and I was the happiest thankful mother on the planet to have everybody back safe at home. How many others cannot say the same!
“Promenade Moments are ephemerid encounters of people passing by, instants of joy and relax for family and friends. Tourists enjoy the spectacular colours that even the rain cannot delete. Soldiers have become part of the prom’ where children play happily. People stop to look into the infinity of the blue sea. Moments and movements surround us in a place where the evil tried to take grip, but the freedom of everyday life full of ease and light prevail.”
The series of blurred colourful pictures of the "PROMENADE MOMENTS" was made using an Olympus OM-D EM5-II, with a tripod and remote cable control, at 1/6-1/10 sec at F22, focal length 60mm, ISO 200, no flash. The long exposure time and the high luminosity of the French Riviera resulted in highly overexposed pictures. To bring back the colours I used Lightroom to increase blacks, shadows, vibrance while decreasing exposure, whites, contrast and clarity. All in all, I try to keep post-processing at a minimum and do not spend more than a few minutes for it on the pictures. The pictures are not artificially composed or cut and recomposed. They are all unposed candid photographs with minimum postproduction of people on the prom'. ~ Pia Parolin
I decided to give back some colour and light. I took all photographs in 2017, spending time with my camera on the Promenade des Anglais, beside the sea and the sun. It was my anti-depressivum in a difficult moment of my own life. The result are these colourful positive happy pictures, these “Promenade Moments” full of life and light. I share the happiness that I was able to gain back by donating HD metal prints of my pictures to the associations who take care of the victims and their families (Promenade des Anges; Hospital Lenval). And I will make a photography workshop with traumatized kids in Nice in order to share my knowledge about how to enjoy photography. ~ Pia Parolin