Paris Day 1: SEAL at Le Grand Rex

July 11, 2011

Our trip to Paris was short but unforgettable. It seems funny that not even 72 hours ago I was lying on the couch contemplating what to do during the weekend: “Go into town, take a few pictures” I concluded. But, as you already know, luck had other plans for me and my fiancée. Long story short, a blink of an eye later, we were in Paris heading to Seal’s concert at Le Grand Rex.

In one hand, I was holding my Leica M9 mounted with the 50mm Summilux and on the other, I had my fingers crossed we would be sitting close enough for me to be able to take a few good shots. Coming out of the metro, we encountered a massive queue of people waiting to get in Le Grand Rex for the concert. The show was fully booked. Fortunately for us, after some asking/”moving our hands erratically” around, good news(!), we were told that we could go straight in as we were considered invitees. Then, even better news! We were given VIP access cards and the best seats in the house. I almost shed a tear from happiness.

The concert was phenomenal! Seal really knows how to bring the roof down. Period.

Below are 11 pictures I took during the concert; I found it really difficult to cut these down to so few as Seal is ridiculously photogenic. Seriously, you have to try hard to get a picture of Seal that doesn’t look good. If you would like to see more, I will be posting a few more on my Flickr account in the coming days as I go through them. (Click on pictures to enlarge)

All pictures shot with 50mm Summilux ASPH at f/1.4 mounted on a Leica M9.

It was just like the perfect storm: Stunning music, great atmosphere and amazing photo opportunities. What more could one want? On my way to the front of the stage I also bumped into Steve Huff, a photographer who’s work I’m a big fan of. I was very pleased to see him as we arranged to meet before the concert but that didn’t materialise due to a combination of things not going according to plan. I introduced myself, we said a quick “hello”, and then split to take pictures.

After the concert, we went back-stage to meet Seal where we also got the chance to meet many interesting people and catch up with Steve. Seal was even more of a character than what I expected him to be. Not only he’s fun to be around and talk to, his passion and knowledge in photography is indescribable. We could have gone on for hours with no end talking about photography and Leicas.

Speaking of photography, there were many interesting Leica gear moving around the room. Couple of f/0.95 Noctiluxes, a few M9s, but the ones which stole the show were Steve’s black M9-P and, off course, Seal’s rare f/1.2 Noctilux ASPH mounted on his chrome M9-P. I had a quick play with the latter while talking to Seal; the f/1.2 Noctilux is a stunning little lens and surprisingly light for what it is.

That was day one of our short dash-over to Paris. Stay tuned for day two! Before I leave you, I would like to say a big thank you to everyone at Leica Camera and Seal/Seal’s crew for organising #72hours. It really was a super fun and a rewarding experience for both me and my fiancée. It was also my first ever attempt of documenting a concert and what an amazing first experience it has been! Finally, Helen/Wilf/Ric, really appreciate all your help, Seal/Steve/Ernie/Helene/everyone else, it was really nice meeting you, I hope our paths cross again.

If you are still reading this, a big “thank you” to you too :-) Please drop me a comment of your thoughts for the pictures.

There are 25 comments in this article:

  1. July 11, 2011[Gm] says:

    Lovely shots, Christakis. It’s hard to choose just one favorite. I like the lighting on #4, love the selective focus on #8, love the expression on #10.

    Owning a Leica sure is handy, no? :D…

    Note to self: will I *ever* have one?

  2. July 11, 2011Cornel P. says:

    Wow smashing photos Christakis. I like very much the colours in the first one and the expression in #9 and #10. If you leave all the photos in color maybe it were a more consistent series.

  3. July 11, 2011Christakis says:

    [Gm], thank you for your comment. Yes, owning a Leica is very handy. It’s small, easy to carry around and produces great images ;-) If you are really interested in the Leica M but cost is an issue, I would look into buying a used M8 (Stunner of a camera not to be underestimated). Actually, that’s exactly what I did myself.

    Cornel, I must admit #9 and #10 are my favourite too. They both look very nice in colour but ironically I went for B/W to be consistent with the rest of the set -Might consider replacing them :-) Cheers for dropping by and for your comment.

  4. July 11, 2011Helder Ferreira says:

    Fantastic photos! And a great experience you had! Once again congratulations, I’m super jealous! eheheh :)))))

  5. July 11, 2011Christakis says:

    Thank you Helder, appreciate it :-) I remember writing a comment on one of Steve Huff’s posts a while ago saying: “Shooting Seal with the M9 looks like an awesome experience, wish I could do it myself one day”. Fast forward a few months and a few unrelated events later and *bam* I’m there. Couldn’t believe it myself.

  6. July 11, 2011[Gm] says:

    “If you are really interested in the Leica M but cost is an issue, I would look into buying a used M8 (Stunner of a camera not to be underestimated).”

    M8? It is still way out of my reach. With my current financial status, I cannot justify that kind of luxurious purchase :D.

  7. July 11, 2011Steve Huff says:

    Great shots!! Was so nice to meet you at the show and I am glad you were able to shoot with your M9!

  8. July 11, 2011Christakis says:

    [Gm], you know best on that matter. If you ever happen to find yourself in Manchester (or me in Japan), I can lend you mine :-)

    Steve, cheers for your comment/feedback. The M9 was superb under those conditions, it really came to it’s own. The frame lines were so bright and vivid, beautiful.

  9. July 11, 2011Nicolas says:

    Hello! Congratulations for your shots!
    I’m a fan of Fredrika Stahl, the artist of the first part. Do you have some pictures of her?

  10. July 11, 2011Christakis says:

    No, lucked out Nick :-) Unfortunately, we went in after she was off the stage.

  11. July 11, 2011steve says:

    great b/w chris ,really nice frames.

  12. July 12, 2011Christakis says:

    Thank you Steve, appreciate it.

  13. July 12, 2011Ernie says:

    Hi Christakis,

    So glad I find you on the net. Amazing shots you took of the show. I haven’t developed mine yet.
    But hey it was great meeting you both. Please send me a mail so we can share our work.
    Keep on shooting !!


  14. July 12, 2011Christakis says:

    Hi Ernie,

    Really glad you got in touch too, it was a pleasure meeting you and your lovely wife; I was kicking myself I didn’t get your email. Thank you for your kind words, looking forward to yours too!

    Cheers, Christakis

  15. July 13, 2011Rod says:

    Great shots Christakis & a wonderful read with lot’s of famous name dropping, you’re shameless:-)

  16. July 13, 2011Christakis says:

    HAHA Rod, perhaps “sociable” was the word you were after? :-)

  17. July 13, 2011Frédérique Bernard says:

    What a brilliant unexpected adventure you you got yourself into, Chris! Good on you to up and go at short notice! And you really did yourself proud! These shots are so professional looking!!! And I am aware about the difficulties of stage shots, especially with lighting! With pictures of that quality, I wouldn’t be surprised if this leads to more. Well done, you!!!

  18. July 13, 2011Christakis says:

    Hi Frédérique. It was very fun, would so love to do it again. Thanks for your very kind and encouraging comment. Really appreciate it.

  19. July 17, 2011Marco van Lith says:

    Great report and very nice photos. I saw Seal in Rotterdam, won 2 tickets. Backstage at North Sea Jazz. Afterwards it was busy and Seal was in a bit of hurry. It was late and he had to go to France for next concert. Great show. Only had my iphone4 to take some pics.

  20. July 18, 2011Christakis says:

    Hi Marco, thanks for dropping by. Glad to hear you enjoyed the show but shame you didn’t have any other camera other than the iPhone.

  21. July 21, 2011Vania says:

    Wonderful pictures, I was fortune to win two tickets for the concert in Portugal tonight, I’m very looking forward to it, can’t wait.

  22. July 21, 2011Christakis says:

    That’s great, congratulations! I’m sure you will love it. He’s an awesome performer. Don’t forget your camera! :-) PS: Thank you for your kind words.

  23. August 10, 2011Charlie says:

    #10 is the best — brilliant cropping, and it’s enhanced by the soft blur of the hand.

  24. August 10, 2011Christakis says:

    Hi Charlie, thank you for your comment. #10 is my favourite too. :-)

  25. December 11, 2011Update. | Manchester Street Photography says:

    […] and their adorable new baby. It might not be street photography but hey… Neither was Seal’s performance and you loved […]

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