A lopsided photo of mud from a river bed only confused me further. I was standing on a corner of a small street expecting to see the Canal Saint Martin. Google map had led me a merry dance for around 25 minutes. I could see a skip and a small crossroads.
Entre nous, when I decided to ignore the map I was disappointed with the canal. Amsterdam it was not.
‘Take my photo’ as I turned around a mobile phone was shoved into my face. The narrow, curved bridge felt isolated. Two men who had previously been in close discussion where I now stood, slouched at one end of the bridge. Pigeons skimmed just above us, blurred in flight against a dirty white sky.
‘Take my photo'. Here. Here ‘ - I took his phone as I felt for my valuables. This felt like a distraction. The tall, dark man stood with his back to the little light that there was. His smudged phone camera struggled against the shadows. I took four and amidst his demand for more full body shots, I descended the bridge. The by standing men shuffled back to resume their meeting. Autumnal leaves flattened onto the black tarmac, ducks shimmied, people on a barge began to slowly dip as the lock activated, traffic edged forwards, the green damp of the canal, facade of a shop front vivid in colour against its environment.
Congratulating myself at being able to visit the musee without having to queue, I descended into the bowl of humans seeking appreciation of something outside of their time. The glassed triangles were above ground, we in the bowl were not and I had the feeling of walking on the ceiling; a feeling of being upside down.
The cardboard bio, sturdy despite the rain and sadly something very much of our time, indicated that this was not in fact a pile of rolled up bedlinen but a day time street dweller whose purpose it was to remain mute and let the capital letters shape the story of how she came to be sat on the chewing gum stained tarmac of Boulevard Voltaire.
I noticed her and decided her story.
I did this three times.
place de la skateboarders
Place de la Republique
Crosstown skater traffic conditions on this island within a sea of cars, bikes, coaches, lorries, red lights, hurried pedestrians.
On visiting an exhibition
Sign : You can only buy a ticket online - this was positioned next to those queue barriers joined together by seat belts and next to the open door which had a ticket office. It being 16.00 and the gallery set to close at 18.00, this online ticket thing made no sense to me at all so I thought ‘Sod that. I’m not that interested in Klimt anyway’ and wandered back to the creaking floorboards of number 168.
How not to - confessions of a photographer
Do you know a good thing to check when you are standing in driving towards you rain and it is night time and you are on a bridge and it is about 9.30 p.m. and you are at least 45 min walk back to the creaking floors and you probably will need to go to the loo within the next 8 minutes and your camera is definitely not water proof as it teeters on a flimsy travel tripod towards a Paris night scene? What you need to do is to remember to check that you have not knocked your camera onto manual focus without realising it…………………….
How not to do nightscapes
I’m thinking of offering a course on this. Let me know should you wish to attend.
On arriving home
Returning home to the Gers to find no electricity and the contents of three bedrooms having a holiday in other rooms but some contents having a holiday somewhere other than this house as a few weeks on, I still cannot find them.