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The street artists of Montmartre

Behind the beautiful basilica of Sacre Coeur in the Montmartre district of Paris you will find a maze of narrow streets packed with the usual collection of souvenir shops, bars and restaurants. At the heart of this area you come to a square named Place du Tertre which is jam packed with artists. Some are selling their paintings and sculptures but many more are earning their living sketching portraits of the tourists. In the square, and in the surrounding streets you will find numerous colourful characters armed with a sheaf of art paper trying to tempt the passersby to sit for them.

I was hot and tired from dragging my camera bag around all day so I sat at a bar on the edge of the square and had a couple of beers. While sat their, one of the artists settled in next to me and we chatted about my camera and his work. His name was Igor and I was surprised to hear he had travelled to Paris from Montenegro to work as a street artist. Igor told me most of his friends were from Southern Europe which surprised me as I had always assumed they were all French.

I took a couple of photos of Igor and it transpired that portrait artists, unlike photographers, appear to enjoy being photographed. In no time at all I had several of them asking me to shoot them. The ones that didn't ask got photographed anyway as I get brave with a couple of beers inside me. The result was a collection of photos of some genuinely interesting and colourful people and I made some new friends.

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