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?

©Valerie Jardin - Burnside 35-1

©Valerie Jardin - Burnside 35-2

©Valerie Jardin - Burnside 35-3

©Valerie Jardin - Burnside 35-4

©Valerie Jardin - Burnside 35-7

©Valerie Jardin - Burnside 35-8

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!

Tired of Winter

It’s March 31, it snowed again… I am SO tired of winter that I went to the conservatory at Como Park today. It was packed with people. All probably feeling the same way I do. I’ve been so busy in my office since I returned from Paris nearly two weeks ago. I’ve been catching up with emails, preparing for the spring workshops, setting up new webinars and writing… and neglecting my visual push ups 😦

I didn’t feel very inspired today so I put the Lensbaby Velvet 56 (creative manual focus lens) on my X-Pro2, set it on Classic Chrome and fought the crowd into the tropical greenhouse. I only stayed a few minutes, I don’t like crowds, but it was enough to make me feel that spring is indeed coming, even if it doesn’t feel like it today.

I’m not too interested in photographing pretty flowers, I like to play with light and shadows better. Here are a few pics of my Lensbaby adventure. I am waiting for the new Lensbaby Burnside 35 next week and I can’t wait to take it out. Those lenses are the perfect cure for days like today… Or any other day that you need to feed your creative vision!

©Valerie Jardin - Lensbaby Velvet and ClassicChrome-1

©Valerie Jardin - Lensbaby Velvet and ClassicChrome-2

©Valerie Jardin - Lensbaby Velvet and ClassicChrome-3

©Valerie Jardin - Lensbaby Velvet and ClassicChrome-5

©Valerie Jardin - Lensbaby Velvet and ClassicChrome-6

Paris – San Francisco – NYC – Paris – Cabourg


It’s been a while, I haven’t posted since February. Did you miss me? I’ve busy traveling, teaching, writing… And of course: Taking pictures!

I thought it was time to show you a few pics I collected over the past few weeks in Paris, San Francisco, New York, Paris again and home in Normandy…

I’m also excited to have a series of photo education webinars starting this week, available Live and Replay. More details here: Valerie’s webinars.

So here are a few of the people and objects that caught my eyes over the past few weeks. Having such different locations in one blog post probably makes for an interesting mix…. Which is your favorite?


©Valerie Jardin - Paris-3

©Valerie Jardin - Paris-4

©Valerie Jardin - Paris-5

©Valerie Jardin - Paris-1


San Francisco…

©Valerie Jardin - SF-7

©Valerie Jardin - SF-11

©Valerie Jardin - SF-8

©Valerie Jardin - SF-9

©Valerie Jardin - SF-10

New York City…

©Valerie Jardin - NYC-10

©Valerie Jardin - NYC-12

©Valerie Jardin - NYC-11

©Valerie Jardin - NYC-9

©Valerie Jardin - NYC-13

©Valerie Jardin - NYC-7

©Valerie Jardin - NYC-8

Encore Paris 🙂

©Valerie Jardin - Paris-11

©Valerie Jardin - Paris -20

©Valerie Jardin - Paris-20

©Valerie Jardin - Paris-12

©Valerie Jardin - Paris-14

©Valerie Jardin - Paris-17

©Valerie Jardin - Paris-18

©Valerie Jardin - Paris-15

©Valerie Jardin - Paris-13

©Valerie Jardin - Paris-25

©Valerie Jardin - Paris-27

©Valerie Jardin - Paris-24

©Valerie Jardin - Paris-26

©Valerie Jardin - Paris-19

©Valerie Jardin - Paris-8

Cabourg, Normandy…

©Valerie Jardin - Cabourg-12

©Valerie Jardin - Cabourg-6

©Valerie Jardin - Cabourg-7

©Valerie Jardin - Cabourg-10

©Valerie Jardin - Cabourg-8

©Valerie Jardin - Cabourg-9

©Valerie Jardin - Cabourg-2

©Valerie Jardin - Cabourg-1

©Valerie Jardin - Cabourg-4

©Valerie Jardin - Cabourg-5

©Valerie Jardin - Normandy-2

©Valerie Jardin - Normandy-10

©Valerie Jardin - Normandy-1

All B&W are shot with Fujifilm Acros, colors are Classic Chrome.


Winter Light

It’s been a very, very long and harsh winter in Minnesota… Several days of dangerous temperatures, turning into weeks. I can’t tell you how tired we all are of dealing with this. Having to worry about your eye lashes freezing shut as soon as you step outside the door gets old very quickly… So what is a photographer to do? Wait for the warmer days? Absolutely not! The visual muscles would weaken and deteriorate. You need to exercise them on a daily basis. I recently introduced you to ‘Photo antiquing’ in this post. I’ve visited a few more antique shops since then. But that’s not the only way I keep my creative soul happy between trips and projects. I also chase light and textures 🙂

I was visiting an artist studio for a purchase recently, but it was closed. Actually the entire building was deserted. The extreme cold tends to keep people inside. Not me… I can’t stay in for long, I go stir crazy!

Of course, I had my camera with me and I walked up the few floors of the old factory building and played with light for a few minutes. It wasn’t much, but enough to get a few warm images on a very cold day…

©Valerie Jardin - Mpls Winter Light-1

©Valerie Jardin - Mpls Winter Light-2

©Valerie Jardin - Mpls Winter Light-10

©Valerie Jardin - Mpls Winter Light-3

©Valerie Jardin - Mpls Winter Light-5


©Valerie Jardin - Mpls Winter Light-9

©Valerie Jardin - Mpls Winter Light-12

©Valerie Jardin - Mpls Winter Light-14

©Valerie Jardin - Mpls Winter Light-4


It’s this cold here… 😦


Thanks for visiting. Please leave me a note!

#DoSomethingForNothing Paris

I travel to Paris several times a year and I always go in January, it’s one of my favorite times of the year for street photography. I also combine it with a trip to Normandy to celebrate my mother’s birthday.

This year I spent a few days documenting my friend Joshua Coombes on the streets of my beloved city. Josh travelled from London and we spend 3 full days all over Paris meeting people from all different backgrounds who shared stories that will stay with us forever.

The photographs are available in this gallery and the stories will be part of the next ebook #DoSomethingForNothing in Paris. My role was not only to photograph those touching moments, I was also Josh’s interpreter. This experience was more challenging because my attention was divided between the visual storytelling and the translating. But it was even more intimate than the NYC experience because I was more immersed in the interactions.

Here are just a few of the photographs. I will not reveal the stories as they will be available in the next book later this month. Want to get involved and help Josh continue his important work? Please sign up here to be notified when the new ebook comes out. In case you missed the New York City stories, you can download the them here.


©Valerie Jardin - DSFN Paris-1

©Valerie Jardin - DSFN Paris-2

©Valerie Jardin - DSFN Paris-3



©Valerie Jardin - DSFN Paris-4

©Valerie Jardin - DSFN Paris-5

©Valerie Jardin - DSFN Paris-6



©Valerie Jardin - DSFN Paris-7

©Valerie Jardin - DSFN Paris-8

©Valerie Jardin - DSFN Paris-9



©Valerie Jardin - DSFN Paris-10

©Valerie Jardin - DSFN Paris-11

©Valerie Jardin - DSFN Paris-12



©Valerie Jardin - DSFN Paris-13

©Valerie Jardin - DSFN Paris-14

©Valerie Jardin - DSFN Paris-15

©Valerie Jardin - DSFN Paris-16


Marian and Monika

©Valerie Jardin - DSFN Paris-17

©Valerie Jardin - DSFN Paris-18

©Valerie Jardin - DSFN Paris-19

©Valerie Jardin - DSFN Paris-20

©Valerie Jardin - DSFN Paris-21


Paris mock up for social media low

Coming soon!

Book mock up for social media

Available for download

Escape the cold, go photo-antiquing

There there many things I love to photograph on bitterly cold days. The weather has never been an excuse for me not to exercise my ‘visual push-ups’. One of my favorite activities is what I call ‘photo-antiquing’.

It’s not simply walking into an antique store and photographing random objects. The exercise is to work the frame without moving or repositioning any object. No removing distractions (price tags, etc) allowed, that would be too easy! I describe the value of such exercises in my book The Art of Seeing Photographically, it’s all about shooting with more intent and pretending you don’t even have a processing software to work with later. I also highly recommend one focal length and no cropping, just like the few frames below shot recently in a cute little antique store in Duluth, Minnesota.

Try it next time you have cabin fever and you feel that there is nothing to go out and shoot. Your creative soul will thank you!

I shot these with the Fujifilm Xpro2 and the 35mm 1.4 to get me out of my 23mm comfort zone 😉

Please share your thoughts!

©Valerie Jardin ~ photo antiquing-1

©Valerie Jardin ~ photo antiquing-5

©Valerie Jardin ~ photo antiquing-2

©Valerie Jardin ~ photo antiquing-8

©Valerie Jardin ~ photo antiquing-7

©Valerie Jardin ~ photo antiquing-6

©Valerie Jardin ~ photo antiquing-3

©Valerie Jardin ~ photo antiquing-10

©Valerie Jardin ~ photo antiquing-9

©Valerie Jardin ~ photo antiquing-11


2017 in 100 Photographs

Wishing you all a beautiful end of 2017 and the most creative 2018!


Thank you for your continued support.

Valérie Jardin

San Francisco, Dallas and a little break…

December started in San Francisco where I taught a street photography workshop and a few private sessions. Then I spent a couple of days with my son who is currently doing his doctorate studies in Northern California. I had such a great time and I can’t wait to go again in February!

The following week, I was off to Dallas for the last workshop of the year, followed by a presentation for Fujifilm US. I was a cold week in Dallas but I met lots of warm and friendly people. It was a fun time!

I’m home again and taking a short travel break. I am actually craving the idea of not having to pack for a while but I know that in just a couple of week I’ll be getting the travel bug again.

Here are few pics taken on the streets of San Francisco and Dallas this month. Some in B&W, others in color (and for obvious reasons I think).

Thank you for accompanying me on so many streets this year!

San Francisco

©Valerie Jardin ~ SF-4

©Valerie Jardin ~ SF-3

©Valerie Jardin ~ SF-7

©Valerie Jardin ~ SF-8

©Valerie Jardin ~ SF-2


©Valerie Jardin ~ Dallas-1

©Valerie Jardin ~ Dallas-2

©Valerie Jardin ~ Dallas-3

More news about #DoSomethingForNothing

The most rewarding projects I’ve done this year was documenting the work of my good friend Joshua Coombes on the streets of NYC in September. Josh and I published an ebook with the stories and photographs we collected during our week on the streets of New York. With the help of two great volunteers, Paul Vincent and Mel Rolleri, the ebook is now available for download here. Donations of any amount are appreciated to help Josh continue his beautiful project and bring love and compassion to new cities around the world. My goal is to continue to work with him as a team as much as possible when my schedule allows it. A first exhibit of the work is already in the planning stages for June 2018.

More exciting news! A new camera bag was also released as a Valérie Jardin signature limited edition by Cosyspeed in Germany. Proceeds for this limited edition bag go to a humanitarian project and I chose Josh and #DoSomethingForNothing to be the recipient. There are 200 New York gray sling/hip bags in this beautiful limited edition. With your help, we can sell out quickly!




#DoSomethingForNothing ~ eBook Fundraiser

As you probably all know by now, I’ve been deeply moved by the work of Joshua Coombes and #DoSomethingForNothing for the past couple of years. We had the opportunity to finally work together this year and the experience truly changed my life. I had looked at different ways to use my visual storytelling skills for a humanitarian project. Perseverance brought us together on the streets of New York City in September and the experience was amazing.

“Everyone has the power to #DoSomethingForNothing. We’re not raising awareness, we’re raising compassion. We’re mobilizing people globally to spread love in their communities. Changing the way in which we interact with one another, across the globe.” ~ Joshua Coombes

I decided to try to help Josh continue his important work any way I could.
Thanks to some amazing volunteers, we just published an eBook to help raise some funds for #DoSomethingForNothing. Any donation, small or large, will help make the world a little brighter, one person at a time.

Thank you for your support!


#DoSomethingForNothing NYC ebook -1

To download the eBook CLICK HERE











A Weekend in November

I had less than 48 hours in Paris earlier this month but they were two very memorable days. I arrived on Saturday morning and took part in the first Paris Hit The Street Worldwide Photowalk which is a new project of mine, aimed at bringing my podcast listeners together. Volunteers organize free photowalks in major cities around the world under the podcast brand. After NYC in October, I had the pleasure to participate in the first Paris event organized by my good friends Christian Baillet and Fabienne Harris. Friends came from several other surrounding european countries to attend a fun afternoon on the streets of Paris. Of course, the goal was to take pictures but it was first and foremost a social event to share our passion with like-minded people and make new friends. We explored Montmartre on a rainy day, which is always my favorite time to be there. The day ended at a restaurant near Place Pigalle where many stories, laughs and glasses of wine were shared!

On Sunday, I spend the day with three friends on the streets of Paris and collected a few more pics. Monday morning came and it was time to take the 9 hour flight back to the States. My head was full of fun memories and my camera was full of stolen moments.

Here are a few of my favorite B&W pics from my Parisian weekend in November…

©Valerie Jardin - Paris Nov 2017-14

©Valerie Jardin - Paris Nov 2017-15

©Valerie Jardin - Paris Nov 2017-9

©Valerie Jardin - Paris Nov 2017-20

©Valerie Jardin - Paris Nov 2017-3

©Valerie Jardin - Paris Nov 2017-5

©Valerie Jardin - Paris Nov 2017-13

©Valerie Jardin - Paris Nov 2017-16

©Valerie Jardin - Paris Nov 2017-10

©Valerie Jardin - Paris Nov 2017-1

©Valerie Jardin - Paris Nov 2017-7

©Valerie Jardin - Paris Nov 2017-17

©Valerie Jardin - Paris Nov 2017-8

©Valerie Jardin - Paris Nov 2017-21

©Valerie Jardin - Paris Nov 2017-18

©Valerie Jardin - Paris Nov 2017-6

©Valerie Jardin - Paris Nov 2017-19

©Valerie Jardin - Paris Nov 2017-22