August… Rain once more.
The times have been all the identical.
What to do in Paris throughout a summer season as rotten as that of 2007? My spouse had already been working overseas for a number of months. I felt lonesome and I used to be doing my finest to maintain on carrying on when the telephone rang someplace in my empty condominium…
It was my pal Gilles, a former picture reporter, who was asking me to affix him for a stroll right into a forest on an island. “It’s a particular place,” he stated. “Take your digicam”. The sky outdoors my window was as gray because the Parisian roofs…
It’s identified that working towards images can heal wounds, so I grabbed my Nikon F4e, a roll of Kodak Tri-X 400 and rushed to the metro station. The noisy prepare ran quick to my vacation spot, westward to the sting of Paris. Once I arrived, Gilles was ready for me on the finish of the marina.
The island of Chatou, often known as l’Isle Fleurie, is is a strip of land misplaced amidst the waters of the River Seine, downstream from Paris and virtually on the gates of the metropolis.
Through the years, a number of generations of artists have fallen below the charms of the island, particularly the Impressionists, attracted by the sunshine so specific to the river. On the flip of the 19th century, Parisians rushed to the guinguettes, dreaming of a carefree life, made from music and dance, mirth and absinth.
Human teams repeatedly tried to choose its northern finish. Chasing a dream of freedom and independence, travellers constructed small cabins, ploughed orchards and sowed fruit bushes, though all have been chased away from their trendy “Hortus conclusus”.
Utopia was in the end shattered, its earthly form disowned. Man left the stays of his goals behind on Chatou. Fragile dwellings, instruments, private belongings: the island stored them, a form of “horrible backyard” coated with lush, wild vegetation.
Upon assembly, Giles and we walked for an hour earlier than we began talking. Then, sitting at a small desk at the Maison Fournier, one of many historic guinguettes of Chatou, we had a powerful espresso earlier than beginning our journey into the island’s lush vegetation.
Gilles had his digicam and a pair of backyard shears. I found later why such a device can be vital. The summer season temperatures and the rain had made the vegetation develop like loopy; unbelievably thick and tall. The trail to the misplaced villages of Chatou was gone.
Our promenade grew to become then a every day assembly and a invaluable journey. The hidden a part of the island was a darkish place, the bushes have been tall and robust. I used to be barely ready to make use of ISO 400 handheld however by means of that Summer season, that’s what I did. Within the coronary heart of Chatou, a mysterious and forgotten world was ready for me. And in that shadow, I needed to discover the sunshine. I needed to get “out of the tunnel”.
In photographic phrases, I needed to take magnificence out of decay. The outcome, a guide in each French and English, is available at Blurb.
Observe: A portion of the textual content on this article was tailored from an unique foreword by Sonia Olcese.
— to emulsive.org