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Mental photos

May 16, 2004

Hum, the battery of the digital camera died just after five shots despite being on charge over night. Something is not right.

Now I am really cursing my self for not bringing the SLR; especially since there was a fresh B/W roll in it.

For the last two days we have been pointing at things that would have made splendid photos. Instead, these things will linger in our minds as mental photos.

The annual bread fair was taking place at Place Hotel Ville. Inside one of the two large tents an old baker was teaching a young girl how to make traditional French bread. The motive and composition was perfect: the old baker in his white outfit and hat, the girl in a bright red sweater and dark braided hair. In front of them one perfect example of pain and one very messy piece of dough.

While having brunch in Marais, two parents left their young baby in the hands of a nun while ordering some coffees. The baby, closely followed by the nun, was chasing a dove picking bread crumbs from the pavement. The white head cloth of the nun was flapping in the wind. The baby was wearing a big white hat and running with its arms outstretched. The poor dove was taking of the ground with flapping wings.

Then there were numerous charming dogs and their colourful owners. Big dogs with small owners, tiny dogs with large owners. Poodles with grey, curly haired owners and bull dogs with chubby, big-faced owners.

monalisa.jpgVisitors of the Louver were snapping away like mad at the many masterpieces inside. As if having a photograph of the Mona Lisa was like owning a piece of it. As if there weren’t already a million of much better photos taken of the Mona Lisa. I of course joined the pack and used up my last digital photo on a shaky, out of focus photo from a weird angle.

What is it about the Mona Lisa anyway? Is it true that it is a guy in drag, possibly an auto portrait of Da Vinci himself? Why doesn’t the scenery in the background on the left and right hand side of the Mona Lisa match up? Why did it take Da Vinci over 20 years to complete this one single portrait? Is the subject famously smiling because he/she, like Da Vinci himself, knows the truth about the Holy Grail?

Other photographic highlight were the male skincare section with lip stick and lip gloss. The Bear's Den pub where a large selection of big hairy men were hugging and kissing each other. A little Jack Russell dog chasing his owner on Roller Blades in heavy traffic.

These mental images turned out perfectly in our minds. Most likely something a real photograph might not have managed.

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