Thursday, August 23, 2012

VISUAL FEAST II

I SPY


Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. 
Pablo Picasso 


We hang suspended somewhere between the grand exodus of July, when the city folk flood out towards their own private Promised Land, be it seaside or mountaintop, and the end of August, heralding the grand return, the sudden rush of population that arrives en masse for the opening of school doors. The streets are left deserted, sidewalks empty of crowds. The drowsy days of summer, and the city is ours to discover. Walking through the market, my camera poised, aimed at what I have long considered simply ordinary ingredients with which to feed my family, framing each image, fruit, vegetable, pastries, meats have become objects of art and desire. Leaving the market and strolling through the streets on these hot, lazy days of the end of the season, I peer through my iphone, my eyes scanning up and down buildings, around and across squares, contemplating individuals as they cross my path, and I discover a visual playground, a play, curtain lifted on Act I, filled with matter and substance for excitement and admiration. I see beauty, humor and magic where I once only saw blank walls, a blur of bodies, dirty sidewalks.





You don’t take a photograph, you make it.

Ansel Adams 



Voyage à Nantes. Cultural events and artistic manifestations color the town exciting; walls light up and the ground transforms into a magic carpet. Ice cream stands and bars spill out onto the street, becoming at once front row center to the greatest show on earth and the stage itself, brimming with characters and action. Graffiti moves and twines around corners, paintings larger than life jump out into my path, tiny images play hide and seek, awaiting discovery and my consideration. Although grime and soot encrust tangles and swags of masonry flowers hanging delicately over doorways, besmudge stone faces and Madonnas secreted away in niches, remnants of other eras, each lends a romance to this city of mine, together they tell a tale if only one takes the time to look up and notice.


Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others. 
Jonathan Swift 


I snap picture after picture and lock them away for another time. I collect image after image for the days that I forget the beauty and grace of life, the humor of living. I have learned to slow down and look around and what I spy makes me catch my breath in wonder or smile in lightness. So many years living in one city and we tend to become blind to the details of the world around us. We become bored and restless, expecting grand things in shapes and sizes too hard to miss, gifts wrapped up larger than life and handed to us noisily, bells and whistles catching our attention, pointing and shouting Me Me Me! But there is so much hidden, hidden out in the open, silent and still. Like those old kid’s games we used to play, Red Light Green Light or Statues, we look yet we see nothing but unmoving shapes, yet look closely, or turn away your eyes then flash around quickly quickly and it all comes to life!


Life is not significant details, illuminated by a flash, fixed forever. 
Photographs are. 
Susan Sontag 


My camera, my iphone have opened up a secret garden, an Ali Baba’s Cavern filled with treasures galore! I now see what I have been missing for all of the year’s I have lived in this city, years in which I wandered through town with my head down, eyes averted. And I see more and more each day. Art is everywhere; a jumble of beauty and silliness and romance and history ornament Nantes, the obvious and the clandestine, changing the face of a staid bourgeois city. Art and architecture in a torrent of colors and designs reshape the city, adding excitement and personality and I capture it every time I walk out onto the street. Joyously.

22 comments:

Sarah said...

love the little snapshots and details of the city- the grime and the quirky graffiti. Sometimes I wonder what I would create if I was ever bold enough to add my own ...

Jeanne said...

Love those footprints... and your stray toe ;o)

Jamie said...

@Jeanne: yeah I didn't notice my own toes when I took the photo, strangely enough, but when I saw it I thought they were somehow appropriate.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

lovely snapshots! I really enjoyed them...

Cheers,

Rosa

Barbara | Creative Culinary said...

I am most reminded of my surroundings when visitors come to town and their breath is taken away by the gorgeous vistas, most specifically the view of Mt Evans in the distance every time I leave my neighborhood. I see it so often I fail to see it at all and I'm really working to change that; to be more aware of the beauty that surrounds us.

Some wonderful pics Jamie, thanks for sharing.

Barbara | Creative Culinary said...

I am most reminded of my surroundings when visitors come to town and their breath is taken away by the gorgeous vistas, most specifically the view of Mt Evans in the distance every time I leave my neighborhood. I see it so often I fail to see it at all and I'm really working to change that; to be more aware of the beauty that surrounds us.

Some wonderful pics Jamie, thanks for sharing.

La Table De Nana said...

Love the Thank you and Light:)In French of course..

Shulie said...

A great glimpse into the town Jaime. I have been following you slaving over your new place on FB. Kudos to you at the end it will all pay off!

Parisbreakfasts said...

'years in which I wandered through town with my head down, eyes averted'
Don't we all do that and miss out on so much
Thanks for the reminder!

David @ Frenchie and the Yankee said...

So much street art! This is a great post. So diverse.

Brian @ A Thought For Food said...

I'm completely infatuated with street art and this is some of the best I've seen. Love the shots!

It's funny... the way you describe the mass exodus reminds me a lot of Boston. Because of the number of towns, the population fluctuates in the summer months.

wendy@chezchloe said...

You have a knack for this. Really enjoying your newfound love!
Now if I could just read these damn characters below the first time!!!

Minnie@thelady8home said...

You could have described my town...it's deserted in summer and then all of sudden, an influx right before the school starts..and the neighboring ones. Love street art.The pictures are divine. Such a different post.

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef said...

Seeing these pictures is like taking a mini-holiday in my mind. I love your blog.

Sanjeeta kk said...

Love the small details about what life is which we tend to ignore at times! Beautiful clicks, Jamie.

Lisa said...

I love what you're discovering through the lens of your new camera. You're becoming quite the photographer! You're capturing all the little things we usually ignore or take for granted and making them significant. Beautiful Nantes, beautiful life!

Rambling Tart said...

This post made me smile, Jamie. :-) I love graffiti, just love it. :-) I interviewed a young graffiti artist couple about their work a few years ago, and understanding their passion has made me appreciate it so much more. Your photos are delightful, and I love this quote: "Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." Perfect. :-)

WiseMóna said...

OMG ... The art is gorgeous! I also find that I keep my head down and just get I. With it and rarely stop to appreciate how lovely our city is. I look forward to showing you around when you come to visit Jamie. We will take iPhone photos together x

Kiran @ KiranTarun.com said...

Beautiful street arts, Jamie! Thanks for sharing :)

Cake Duchess said...

There is art everywhere. Street art is alive in Nantes. Fun shots and your toes look cute;)

Meeta K. Wolff said...

Just awesome. We really do see things differently through the lens of the camera. I am really loving all the art here!

Elizabeth said...

Excuse me for commenting so late. After gazing at Visual Feast III and IV, I had to backtrack to see the earlier ones that I missed. Wonderful!

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