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Lights reflect on river in Arles France
As morning awakens the town of Vienne, the night lights sparkle on the Rhone River.

Vincent Van Gogh was a Dutch post-impressionist painter who is among the most famous and influential figures in the history of Western art. In just over a decade he created about 2,100 artworks, including around 860 oil paintings, most of which date from the last two years of his life. They include landscapes, still lifes, portraits and self-portraits, and are characterized by bold colours and dramatic, impulsive and expressive brushwork that contributed to the foundations of modern art. He was not commercially successful, and his tragic death at 37 came after years of mental illness and poverty. (Wikipedia)

Van Gogh’s story resonates with me for several reasons.
~ He was driven to express his inner thoughts and feelings with his art. Did you notice above that most of his works were created in the last two years of his life?
~ He pushed himself along a journey of improvement with his craft yet, he often wondered if he was any good. ‘Wondering if he was any good’ seems to be a common trait among creatives. I’m in!
~ Today, more than a century after his death, he is one of the world’s best known painters yet he received no recognition during his tortured lifetime. This just raises such compassion for me. If only he could have known the influence he would have.

Van Gogh's Cafe Terrace at Night.
Van Gogh’s second most famous painting, Cafe Terrace at Night, was created here, in Arles, France. The restaurant still has a remarkable resemblance to his painting.
Cafe Van Gogh in Arles, France is busy with customers
The Cafe Van Gogh does a thriving business today.
Lumiere Van Gogh
An incredible display of Van Gogh’s work was on exhibit in an old quarry. Projected on the walls, ceilings and floors with dozens of projectors and music, this was an unforgettable exhibition of his work.
Lumiere Van Gogh
Imagine a theatre with no seats and huge screens in every direction.

The images that follow are not an attempt to recreate Van Gogh’s style but simply my attempt at impressionistic photos that I like to think are touched by his influence.

A pair of painted shutters in Arles
The exterior of buildings in the old town of Arles are required by law to maintain their original appearance.
couple having coffee in France
A couple in Arles enjoy a cafe break during their shopping.
The Rhone River in Arles France
The Rhone River, near the spot where Van Gogh created his most famous painting, Starry Night.
Sunrise on the Rhone in Arles
Sunrise reflecting on the Rhone, Arles.
Sunrise on the Rhone
The Rhone. Another early morning view of Arles. This location was near our apartment and I visited often with my camera.
sunrise in Arles
The city of Arles awakens.
sunflowers on a city street
These sunflowers, a popular subject for Van Gogh, were hanging upside down between buildings in Avignon.
A road of plane trees
These beautiful Plane trees are very common in France, thanks to Napoleon, who ordered them planted along roads to give shade to his troops. Capable of living for 4000 years, Van Gogh was known to paint in the shade of them.
vinyards in Beaujolais
Plane trees provide a wind break for the vineyards in the Beaujolais region.
A town in the Beaujolais region.
This Beaujolais town has only one purpose: grow those delicious grapes!
Arles amphitheatre is still in use today
The ancient amphitheatre in Arles is much like Rome’s famous colosseum. Built in 90 AD, just ten years after the Colosseum, it holds 20,000 spectators and is still in use today.
cobblestone street of Lyon, France
Lyon, with its cobblestones, old buildings and rich history,
A street scene from Old Vienne at night.
A street in Vienne, France, lined with plane trees.
Another view of Vienne, the next morning, on a street lined with Plane trees.
espresso cafe Vienne
Espresso and croissants anyone?
impressionistic view of Eguishiem.
The French village of Eguishiem as it may have looked to an impressionistic painter in Van Gogh’s day.
house cat
The house cat is in.
church window reflecting light
A magic window
pizza from a wood fired oven
At the end of a long day of travel, we enjoyed pizza from a wood-fired oven and …
A bottle of Van Gogh wine.
… a bottle of Van Gogh wine. Such a fitting end to our three weeks in France.

About the Photographs

A few of the images shown here are ‘straight shots’, such as the wine image above. Some received post processing such as the couple at the cafe table and the blue shutters on the yellow wall. The remaining photos were created with in-camera effects, primarily double exposures or multiple exposures. The image below is an example of using multiple exposure and allowing the camera to move very slightly while shooting. The resulting image has a painterly effect, resembling the work of impressionist painters.

It’s a technique that has unlimited variations and one that is taught by Chris Harris and myself at our Develop Your Creative Vision workshops.

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