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In memory of my dear friend and yacht photographer Marc Paris.

It has been almost a month since I was sad to learn that my dear friend Marc Paris had passed away in a tragic ultra-light plane accident in Turkey. In the weeks that have followed I’ve thought of Marc often and amidst the sadness of knowing that I won’t get to see him again, are the smiles brought by every memory of him.

Marc and I met around 1999–2000. At the time, he worked with a few printers in Italy who produced projects I had designed, he was a sort of print-broker who absolutely loved seeing a well printed piece come out of the press. I went to Italy twice to do press-checks with him and each time was an unforgettable adventure.

Marc had a special way of living life, and nothing was ever an obstacle between him and a good time. What started as a press-check trip, ended as a weekend in Tuscany. What started as a morning coffee, ended as a late night affair with a traditional Italian dinner three towns away. What started as a business relation between a printer and a young designer, ended with a summer vacation in Italy where he hosted me and my sisters and helped us have a grand time.

Over the years that followed we met repeatedly anywhere between Brescia and Fort Lauderdale. Each time, he greeted me with a giant smile and a super hug.

He was extremely generous at heart and was always keen to show me the best of everything, and yes, often times this got in the way of the practical aspects of life: deadlines, meeting times, and other such “minor” issues. Once, I was having dinner with Marc in Las Olas when he ran out to “meet someone”. After 15 minutes or so, he came back, sat with me briefly, and then ran out again. Only then did I realize he was having 2 dinners at once, at separate restaurants, just like Mrs. Doubtfire! Such was his desire to do everything and please everyone.

On another occasion he’d wanted to show me his favorite French restaurant in Fort Lauderdale: “Sage”, and upon realizing it was closed, he proceeded to call and plead with his old friend “Chef Laurent” to kindly open up for us “even if only for some wine and cheese”, which he did, just for Marc Paris. 

How did he manage to have a friend everywhere, in every corner of the world? Over time, I found the answer on my own.

In recent years I was extremely happy to see Marc put his amazing photography skills to work for the Yachting industry, this seemed to give him a special kind of focus, pride and happiness. His work was fabulous time and again, and although his pricing was (as he himself mentioned) controversial—how could he do such good photos for so little money?—the quality of his images was unquestionably fantastic.

—What are you doing to get such good pictures? I asked him just a few months ago. His reply was a mix of strategies, which had less to do with the technical aspects of photography and more to do with his approach to life. The answer lay somewhere between shooting from a Parasail to get aerials when a helicopter was not available, waking up at 4am to catch the perfect first ray of Caribbean sunlight, and convincing the crew to wake up with him to get the yacht dressed up and ready. 

I’m not exactly sure how this “convincing” happened, but the truth is that his latest work was absolutely gorgeous, and he made sure to thank the wonderful crew members of every yacht he photographed at each possible opportunity.

Amidst the crazy-busy lives we lead, we often conduct business a little coldheartedly. Clients and vendors are numbers, services, prices, estimates and invoices. I think that beyond a businessman Marc was a nice guy. He stopped to look warmly into people, he talked and listened to them, he truly enjoyed good company and tried to make all around him smile. 

When I once asked him about his history he told me had been born in Tunisia, but grew up largely in France and after a few years in the US, he finally settled in Italy. And yet, I actually believe he was a traveler by definition and never really “settled” as such. His accent was mostly french, and over the last few weeks when I close my eyes, I can hear his deep voice, the voice of an avid smoker, saying “I’m an ‘appy’ man”... he never really pronounced the “h”, but happy he was. That thought makes me smile.

Marc was full of life, passion, friendship and warmth, and although I will always miss him, I hope to have learned to live a little more fully and have a little more fun through his enduring example.

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Reader Comments (2)

While this is a reflection on your friendship with Marc, so much of it felt like a conversation about my friendship with Marc. My friendship was brief, but Marc's impact was great. I am inspired to live fully and with great joy from Marc's example. He will be missed.
January 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce Phillips
I only had the opportunity to meet Marc once. I quickly registered the type of person that he was, he was open, kind and was quick to explain his way of life. Within one conversation you could gather a lot from him and think about how contagious his happiness (or appiness) was. I consider myself extremely lucky to have met such a wonderful person.
January 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlberto Orsini

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