My first photography shoot — Library Girls

Library Girls — A shoot by Thomas Burbidge at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France — Paris

I’ve always loved and been amazed by photography, maybe even more so by the photographers themselves. Especially those who spend every day of their lives exploring the wilderness and capturing its beauty. Their work portrays a certain kind of mysticism that mesmerizes me. I never once thought I would myself become a part of their world. I was recently offered by a good friend of mine, Amy, to accompany her on one of her shoots with a couple of model friends of hers at the National Library of France in Paris where we both live. My first proper experience of what it would be like to be “a photographer”.

Amy (center) and the Library Girls


“La BNF” as we Parisians call it, is situated along the quayside of the Seine river. It is a superb place linking wide open spaces and tall glass towers ideal for reflection and light. There are a great deal of horizontal and vertical convergence lines to be used in compositions and the spaces created between the buildings make for interesting shapes. We decided to go in the early evening to capture the sunset as the warm light plays with the glass of the buildings.


Amy has been fueling her passion for photography for a very long time. Her work mainly concentrates on female portraits and the stories and emotions that “her girls” hold close. Her visions of love and female beauty are very diverse and full of passion. These pictures of her were taken on film during our shoot. It was a real privilege to work with Amy and I hope to share more common stories soon.


Emma is a communication student. She is a good friend of Amy’s and the two of them have often worked together on photography projects. This was the first time we met and I was quickly put to rest when I realized how easy it was for her to understand what I wanted from the pictures. These photos were all taken with my Nikon D3200, which is the very first camera I bought for my birthday a few years back.


Pasquale is embarking into the world of acting. This was also her first real shoot but she has a natural talent that comes to life under the camera. Hardly needing any direction, her intense look carries a lot of emotion out of the photo. The photos I took of her are a mix of film and digital. Since this shoot, which took place almost a year ago, I have done lots more work with Pasquale that you can see in future posts.

My first experience in the skin of a photographer was an inspiring one. We were 4 people, in a beautiful place, trying to capture something to represent the moments we spent together there. In retrospective, some of my shots seem clumsy and underworked, but they are representative of my first step on a very long road. The first page of a very long book. The first line of a very long poem.

My journey has begun. Thank-you to Amy, Emma and Pasquale for sharing that special moment with me.

The library girls.

Follow me on Instagram to see more of my work : @thomas.burbidge