Minnesota State Fair Moments 2018

Every year I try go to the fair twice, once for family time and once for photography. This year I actually went twice for family fun and only a very short time for photography. I enjoy photographing in two places: Near the horse barns in the late afternoon, and in the Midway at night. The Midway is where the rides are. So when I walk in, and I’m on a mission. I only carry my camera and I spend 2-3 hours for the sole purpose of getting a few shots.

These are some of the shots I collected this year…

This little girl was so excited about the horses coming and going. I spent a few minutes photographing her excitement. I talked with a mom for a little while before leaving and gave her my contact info. The next day I sent her high res pics of her little girl.

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This is part of what the little girl was watching…

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The rest of the time I walked around and captured faces illuminated by the bright  ambient lights of the fair…

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There are places at the State Fair where it feels like you just stepped into a different time…

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Do you photograph the fair near you?

Ma Normandie


I’m a little behind in my blog posts… I spent 6 weeks in Normandy this summer and I only posted pics from the workshop, not from the few weeks I stayed there on vacation. There are too many photographs to post so I selected a few at random to share with you here. They were shot in July, mostly during my daily walk on the beach in Cabourg or in neighboring seaside towns 🙂

I can’t wait to teach the next workshop there in October! I also opened registration for Normandy in May and September 2019, a few spots are still open. It’s all about seeing photographically and story telling, check them out!

Stories of Hands

If you follow me on social media, you probably noticed that I started a new series in April while traveling in Rome. I started photographing hands. I find hands special. They have character, they convey an emotion. Since then, I’ve photographed hands in Paris, Normandy, Zurich and more.

Here are a few hands photographed in recent weeks. Except for one or two, they were all shot without the subject noticing me. There are many more on my website gallery here. I know I have many more from previous years, I will eventually look through my portfolio and add to the collection. That may take a while 😉

Which is your favorite?

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All photographs ©Valérie Jardin 2018

Click here to visit the gallery



I haven’t even finished sharing my pictures from my vacation in Normandy in July, and I’m already back from another trip to Europe and soon leaving again. Where does time go?

Today I want to share pics I shot during my vacation while visiting one of my favorite city, Saint Malo, in neighboring Brittany. You know how much I love architectural abstract. Almost as much as I love street photography actually. So you can imagine my delight when I walked into Hotel Le Grand Bé and saw the architecture in the lobby. I spent a few minutes walking around and shot the lobby from different perspectives and levels. SO MUCH FUN! And another example of the versatility of the 23 mm focal length (35 mm full frame equivalent)…

Do you enjoy shooting architectural abstract?

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All photos ©Valérie Jardin

Normandy: Students’ Work


I rarely have the time to create posts featuring students’ work, but since I still have a few days before going back to a full time schedule, this is a great opportunity to do one. It’s been nearly a month since the Normandy workshop and what a memorable week it was! I knew most of the participants from previous workshops and also made new friends. We shared so many amazing photographic moments, great conversations, wonderful meals and lots of really good laughs together. Just writing this brings back a smile to my face. I miss them all! Some of them were experienced photographers, others were new at it. The workshop is much more than street photography, it’s about visual storytelling and capturing the essence of a place. All learned so much and impressed me with their unique vision of a place that is very special to me. Normandy is where I was born and raised, and where I reside part time once again.

I am excited to share it with new friends later this year and again next year for new Normandy adventures. I hope you join me!

Please enjoy some of my students’ work 🙂

What a great trip we had with you in Normandy! Paul and I want to thank you so much for all your teaching, organization, and patience. More than any other photo tour or workshop we have been on, this one was made much more poignant because of your knowledge of the area and your personal touches. What fun it was to meet your parents too! We especially want to thank you for your encouragement and support of our photography. You are a wonderful mentor. Hope to see you again at another workshop in the future. Elizabeth & Paul Gray, Vancouver, Canada

The Normandy workshop was a terrific experience. Although I don’t consider myself a street photographer, learning from others, seeing how they approach photography, and stretching ourselves outside our familiar territory is critical to advancing our own art. The Normandy workshop provides that and adds to it an opportunity to visit a beautiful part of France full of history and culture and do it with a native of the region. Valerie somehow manages the complicated logistics of this workshop going to multiple locations, staying in multiple hotels, making it all effortless for the participants. Valerie’s artistic passion and insights are a valuable addition to my photographic journey. Tony, Rochester, MN


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Thank you for visiting!

Normandy Details

No story would be complete without the little details of everyday life. Although most of my students attend my week-long workshops for the street photography aspect, I remind them constantly during the week to grab vignette shots along the way as well. When they return home, many will publish a coffee table book of their week in Normandy, Paris, Rome or Barcelona and those detail shots will link their story together. It’s part of the process of learning to see photographically and think like the editor of a travel magazine.

As you know, my favorite things to photograph are scenes of everyday life, in its candid form. But my photographer’s eye cannot ignore such little details as these…

Which to you prefer? (Click on the pics to see them larger)

All shot in Classic Chrome at 23mm with the Fujifilm X100F or the X-Pro2.

Normandy Street


I finished teaching my week-long Normandy workshop last week and took a week off immediately after. I never take time off, but this has been really good! I’ve been recharging my own batteries, catching up on sleep, enjoying not having to keep a schedule, etc. The Normandy workshop was so much fun. I really enjoyed sharing my home region with a small group of avid photographers. It’s always been a popular and much anticipated workshop, so much so that I just opened two more next year. The week was all about seeing photographically and story telling. Most photographers come on my workshops for the street photography aspect. During the week-long adventures I urge them to broaden their focus of interest and work on seeing outside the postcard and tell the visual story of their week. Of course, street photography is a huge component of all travel photography. Some may not think of Normandy as the place to shoot street. On the contrary, it offers a variety and challenge that most big cities do not have. From small town markets, to beaches and boardwalks, the opportunities are always there, it’s up to the photographer to see them.

Here are a few street pics from Honfleur to Mont Saint Michel and a few places in between… Join me for a photography adventure in Normandy in 2019!


I’m enjoying a few more weeks in Normandy, mostly on the coast. Some beach photography coming soon…

Some Rome, Some Paris… And a Gallery Opening

My schedule has been crazy busy. Between Rome and Paris, I only had a few weeks back in the States. I taught a workshop in Minneapolis and spent many days catching up with office work, recording podcasts, writing, jurying an international call for entry and preparing for a big gallery show. Once I got back from Paris, it was time to catch up some more and add the finishing touches to the #DoSomethingForNothing NYC-Paris exhibit. Josh Came to Minneapolis and spent a few days at our home. It was so much fun to have him here. We were very busy but we managed to carry the project on the streets of St Paul and Minneapolis for a couple of days. It was good to work together again!

The exhibit opening reception was a huge success, with about 200 attendees.

Now I’m about to release most of the 2019 workshops and get on another long flight to Europe for another adventure. I haven’t completely unpacked from Paris yet. But it’s all good and I’m enjoying every minute of it 🙂

So it’s time I post a few pics from Rome in April and Paris in May…


Just To Say Hello

***NOTE*** In an effort to comply with the new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) laws in the EU. Do not hesitate to unsubscribe to the this blog if you wish to stop receiving it.  

Dear friends,

You’re probably wondering what happened to me. I can’t believe I’ve neglected my blog for several weeks. Honestly, my schedule has been so crazy that something had to give. But thats only temporary!

So, what’s new? You may ask…

April was spent teaching in Rome, May in Paris. Both trips were amazing with photoopportunities and new friendships. The little time I had in between was incredibly packed with podcast recordings, teaching webinars, finishing a new book and preparing the #DoSomethingForNothing NYC-Paris exhibit to open next week in Minneapolis!

Now I’m back from Paris, Joshua Coombes is coming for a visit next week to attend the grand opening and work on the project locally in the Twin-Cities as a team. Then I’m off to France again shortly after. I hope that I will have time to post some Rome and Paris pictures here before I get on a plane again to teach the Normandy workshop. I’ll be taking July off to rest and write book #7.

If you are interested in hearing about my thought and creative process from visualization to capture as I take you on a photo walk through a series of recent photographs. Why I choose B&W over color? What aperture and why? What was the intent behind the choice of focal point? And much more… Do not miss my next class, LIVE or REPLAY. Sign up before Friday June 1st.

And enjoy my latest book ANONYMOUS 🙂

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Click here to download your copy


#DSFN Screenshot

I hope many of you come to the exhibit opening reception on June 8th at the Mpls Photo Center!

Thank you for your continued support!

Ditching Perfection

I haven’t taken a day off since I returned from France on March 19th. I even missed the 24 hour project this weekend because I was stuck in my office. Yes, running international  photo workshops is amazing, there is nothing else I would rather do. But I have to admit that the time between trips is far from glamorous. I have an office assistant now and I’m giving her more and more tasks. It takes time to let go after being a solo entrepreneur for so many years. But letting go little by little of the things that suck more and more of my time has never felt so good!

There are many exciting things happening. My webinar series is very successful, the preparations for the #DoSomethingForNothing New-York-Paris exhibit are underway, I’m writing, still producing a podcast every Thursday and loving it! But best of all, I’m about to meet 10 photographers in Italy for a week of visual storytelling in Roma! So, clearly, all this time in the office between Paris and Rome is well worth it! 😉

Last week I received the new Lensbaby Burnside 35 creative effect lens. It’s a manual focus lens designed for artists who want to experience creativity in the field, not in the computer. The beauty of all the Lensbaby lenses is that it forces you to let go of perfection. Nothing is sharp, edges disappear, bokeh becomes a magical swirl… I LOVE IT!

I put it on my Fujifilm X-Pro2 yesterday, closed my office door, and took it on our Saturday family walk. It’s been a very, very cold month of April in Minnesota, with more snow than we’ve had all winter. We opted for an urban hike in Minneapolis instead of a snow hike. Honestly, we are all sick and tired of the white stuff after almost 6 months of it… (I’m tired of it by December by the way). It’s also the most drab and dull time of the year: Dirty snow piles, emerging brown grass, dead looking trees… I didn’t think the camera was going to even get a shutter click, until I walked by a bridal shop and I snapped a few pics.

So how challenging was the new lens? Quite a challenge! It will take a lot of trial and error to get the right mix of bokeh swirl and vignette. And I’m sure it will be easier when my fingers are not frozen. But what fun to experiment!

A photograph is an emotion. I always believed that we are not wired to be drawn to perfection. That it is often the imperfections that move us.

Quite honestly, the ‘missed’ shot of the woman walking through the store may be my favorite. What’s yours?

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Let go of perfection, dare to experiment!

Want to try a Lensbaby? They are offering a really cool program called The Traveling Burnside Project. Check it out!