As a part of Paris Guide section on the blog we love to introduce you to new cafes and restaurants in Paris, show you Parisian events, and share interviews with artisans and creatives who work in Paris or whose work is all about Paris. So it's with great pleasure that we are featuring this interview with our friend Rebecca Plotnick, an American photographer, who has made Parisian lifestyle into art in her Every Day Parisian blog. And of course being a Paris Photographer I had to supplement the interview with some lovely photos of Rebecca that Anastasia captured for her over the past couple of years (the cherry blossom shots are my all time favorite).
"I am originally from Cincinnati, Ohio born and raised until I was 18. I am not French nor do I have any French heritage in my background. I grew up with this idea that Paris was filled romance and magic. In 7th grade we were allowed to pick a language in school, I chose French and slowly I was introduced to French culture and the language.
It wasn’t until I was 21 that I would take my first trip to Paris. I was studying abroad in Italy and my friends and I had booked a trip on Valentine’s Day. I was suffering from a terrible case of bronchitis but I never let it slow me down. I sat on the top of the double decker bus with a banana and Nutella crêpe in one hand and my camera in the other and instantly fell in love. I don’t remember the first time I saw the Eiffel tower but I do remember thinking that Paris was better than I ever imagined.
After studying abroad I was bit by the travel bug and wanted to find a way to get back to Europe. My dream job was to be a travel photographer, I wanted to travel the world and take pictures and find a way to get paid for it. I had no idea it was actually possible so I set out in the corporate world after graduation. In 2008, I lost my job along with many other Americans in the recession. I had rent, a car payment and I needed a way to pay them both and survive.
I started babysitting to pick up extra cash while I had the flexibility to job search. I was coming up empty handed but it was helping to pay the rent. I worked as a night nanny (10 pm – 7am) and sometimes during the day as a day nanny. I also lugged my work to various farmers markets every weekend around the city trying to sell my photography.
I started on Etsy in 2009 but had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know how to price my work, how to get seen, and the photos I was showing weren’t selling that well. I had one photo from Paris that was getting more hits than anything else on my website from my trip in 2003. So in 2010 with airline miles from my previous job and a little cash I went to Paris. I photographed from morning until night for 10 days straight. I got lost in the city and discovered cafés and hidden streets. Paris was so new to me, everything was exciting. I still look back on those photos as a way to see how I discovered the city and viewed it for the first time.
I returned in Spring and put the photographs on Etsy and pretty quickly after things started selling. I also got picked up by One Kings Lane for a few sales and it was very profitable. After a year I was completely on my own as a full time photographer. It was so scary taking the leap because I was so worried if the money was enough to support me. Fear was holding me back but I kept moving forward and haven’t looked back since.
In 2012, I decided to pack up my apartment and try living in Paris. I had the ability to run my Etsy shop abroad so I could continue working. I could go three months without a Visa so in 2013 I went from February – April. I am not sure why I chose those times it just happened that way. I saw the city covered in snow, soaked in rain, and in every shade of pink during cherry blossom season. Leaving the city was so hard I knew I had to come back. Through the help of family and friends, and some short term rentals I was able to move around and travel back and forth to Paris. Three months turned into three years of living a nomadic life.
After three years it got harder to live out of a suitcase. Making friends in different cities and always being on the go wasn’t so easy. What was even harder was dating. I never knew how long I was going to be in a city before picking up to travel again. When you are unattached it makes it so much easier to move around.
I decided between Chicago and NYC when I moved back from the States. I had already established a friend base and business relationships in Chicago so it made it easier to make a choice. I still would love to live in NYC even if only for a bit. It wasn’t long after moving back to Chicago that the ideas started flowing about what I would do next. One sleepless night I came up with the idea for a blog. I had brought the Parisian life back home with me to Chicago so why not write about it? I quickly made my way to the computer and turned on the light and checked if my domain name was available, it was!
It took a while to get everything lined up for the blog. I had ideas and lots of them. I knew my demographic, content ideas, and my audience. But I have never really written a blog before… I had a lot of support and help bouncing off ideas and researching. It took longer than I had hoped but it worked out better this way in the long run. In July, 2016 Every Day Parisian launched! I can’t say that every idea was a homerun when it has come to the blog. Figuring out what works and what doesn’t is a learning process and there is still so much to figure out as it grows.
People are always asking me about Paris and I never planned on taking the city I love and making a business based on it. I started as a print shop which then turned into a blog. I would say luck has a lot to do with it but honestly it is hard work more than anything else. Love what you do and know that you will work harder for yourself than ever before. It has taken me 7 years to finally feel that hard work really does pay off!"