“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.”
Long before I started doing photography I had a lifelong obsession with lavender fields. This month I finally got my ass to Provence (France) and spent a whole week running around those fields eating cheese and drinking—way too much—wine, taking pictures and writing poems, surrounded by nothing but silence, nature and the scent of lavender.
I rented a room in an airbnb beautiful 100 years old house owned by an artist in Manosque (a small village about 20 minutes away from the fields) and drove around the rustic countryside roads and the tiny old villages from morning till sundown everyday with the only goal of enjoying my time here. I was coming from a few intense months of non stop work in NYC and I felt completely burnt out by my life there and this trip brought me back to feeling like myself again.
If you’re ever in France in the early summer I strongly suggest you to make a quick stop to this side of the country and enjoy the view and the silence.
Here are a few tips for you!
WHEN TO GO: The fields look at their best between the first week of June and the first week of July (they start cutting the lavender around the second week of July and most of the grain is already gone by then) when they are in full bloom.
WHERE TO GO: The area where I found more lavender fields is called Plateau de Valensole. Here you’ll find countless lavender fields of all sizes but also grain, poppies, sunflowers and many other flower fields in general.
•Don’t miss the Sénanque Abbey (pic below)
HOW TO GET AROUND: If time is tight then moving around by car is your best bet so you can quickly stroll from a field to another but if you are not in a hurry I would definitely rent a bike and enjoy the view while pedaling around the calm, nearly empty, countryside roads.
THINGS TO KNOW: There is a shit-ton of bees around especially during the warmer hours ( I obviously got stung by one and I am obviously allergic but beside the disgusting looking swelling hand I was ok and kept working!) so watch out and if you are heavily allergic maybe avoid walking straight into the lavender bushes (like I obviously did!)
There are also lots of mosquitos especially at night so pack some repellent.
- BEAUTIFUL LIGHT – As always the best light is around sunset and sunrise. I was way to lazy to get up at sunrise so I took full advantage of the evening light. Because I like soft light, low contrast and warm tones my favorite time to shoot was between 7.30pm and 9.45pm (I avoid like the plague at all times shooting in the middle of the day but if you like a contrasty shot with a blue sky then go for it!)
- ADD A HUMAN TOUCH – If you’re familiar with my work you know storytelling is an essential part of my photography and the best way to tell a story for me is to have a person in the shot. So wether you’re alone or in company don’t miss out on creating a beautiful story! Set your camera on a tripod or on the ground if you’re alone or ask a stranger to take a picture of you (make sure to frame it for them or you won’t be too happy with the result most likely!)
- PLAY AROUND – Have fun, get creative, try unusual angles, add a product, an element, anything that comes to mind!
- TAKE A PORTRAIT (No, not a fucking selfie! Just don’t, not here!) – Unless you live around here you won’t come across something this beautiful very often so put your phone away, refrain from the urge to take a low quality selfie and instead set up your camera and take a beautiful portrait of yourself (and of whoever is with you) which is a much classier and more interesting option and undoubtedly much less annoying to look at for everyone else!
I really enjoyed my week here but we all know nothing lasts forever and life is in constant movement, the lavender was being harvested, the fields looked stripped of their beauty and Paris (and some really cool people) were waiting for me.
As cheesy as it sounds, Valensole and its pink and lavender hues, is one of the most magical places I’ve ever seen.
The buzzing of the bees, the tweeting of the birds, the wind blowing, the peace, the silence…it was exactly what I needed to recharged my long-ran-out batteries. It made me think about how sometimes life in NYC moves way too fast,making so much noise and not allowing me to ever hear the silence. It made me realize how much I need that silence though sometime, and how fucking painfully loud that silence can be!
Keep an eye on my instagram for more images from this trip!