January 8, 2013 § 1 Comment
Alpine poppies in the Jardin des Plantes, Paris – summer 2012. I wield a camera as if it were a gun – that is, I have no sophisticated notions of photography, simply point and shoot, hoping the result is satisfactory. It often is, through no fault of mine, and even if it isn’t, I might not see it, not having a trained eye. I enjoyed the vivacity and strength of the colors, maybe because it made capturing them easy, as if by themselves they are enough to give value to the images, no matter how naive and brutish the photographer happens to be. No other efforts necessary, nature speaks for itself.
This would all be true, if one didn’t consider all the labor required to grow and arrange a garden of this size. As a matter of fact, nature doesn’t automatically arrange flowers simply to be pleasing to the eyes and minds of humans, orderly, classed and readily recognizable. Nature is generally messier, unpredictable, complex and therefore more interesting. So, I not only have nature to thank for these photos, but the gardeners as well.
Considering it further, without the engineers and technicians who designed and built the camera, and the workers who assembled it, I wouldn’t have had the luxury of simply pointing the lens and pressing on a button in order to preserve these images. You see where I’m going here… That is, when one isn’t a careful or talented photographer, it’s highly misleading to say “I took a picture” of these flowers as if one deserved the credit for the whole event, when in fact it’s virtually nothing at all — the most of the merit lies elsewhere.
Because I had an extraordinary amount of liesure time this past summer I decided to do something I rarely do — take advantage of the decent weather. What happened, in fact, is that I suddenly realized that I had very few photographs of Paris, even though I’d been living here for years — truly the anti-tourist. Taking pictures was something which didn’t come naturally to me, so I had to force myself. Once initiated, though, no matter how trivially, I was pleased with the results in the Jardin des Plantes ; also, I had come to realize that I had very few records of my time here, which brought on a kind of melacholy, prodding me to make up for lost time and quickly begin an archive.
I had found a nice path beginning near la Bastille (Paris), an overhead walkway lined with flowers, shrubs and benches for people to sit. This “Promenade Plantée” continues all the way until it buts up against a public park, spanning it as a bridge to the other side. There it leaves off, and a new path begins, an almost parallel world filled with greenery in the middle of Paris, continuing to the southern periphery. At that point, one can choose to either return, or continue on the the Vincennes Forest (Bois de Vincennes). The path is lined in red ink, and the upper-left corner of the map is Place de la Bastille – once one reaches the forest, there is a myriad of paths to take, and the best option is to pick at random, getting lost. The woods are not so big that one doesn’t eventually run into others (click to enlarge):
Here I’ll just present the remaining photos – a selection of the most palatable – as a gallery. Among others, you’ll see Buddleja (Butterfly bush), Lotus, Nenuphar (water lily), Hardy Geranium, Astilbe, Rose, Rudbeckia and Anemone: