Plans Scrubbed by Photos

photo: cafe le rostand, st michel

After Saturday's shopping, Parisians poured out
to enjoy Paris in the fall.

Rain Plays Hide and Seek

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 23. October 2000:- I honestly started the week off with the intention of getting many fine impressions of 'Paris in the rain.' It did rain during the week in Paris, but I got sidetracked and distracted.

By the time I got ready to really do 'Paris in the rain' it decided to stop doing it. Don't get the idea this is a weather prediction. As soon as I decide that I'm going to do Paris in its beautiful fall colors - like I did on Saturday - they will not be so brilliant.

It is plain fall in Paris. In this sense 'plain' means exactly this; nothing to write about, so I won't even if I did.

Café Life

Fleeting Freak Brothers

photo: texas united labor cafe cupAn email took me to see the Freak Brothers, who I phoned first to make sure they were home because they weren't all the other times I went to see them without phoning first.

There are two bits of big news to report about the life in the Freak Brothers' studio. They have tidied it up is one major item. The other item is that they have reduced their work week from three days to one.

Not that political issues are ever discussed at the Freak Brothers,' but it is possible to drink out of signs of them.

There was, of course, some minor news items too, but these were too unexciting to report here. On the day of my visit, it was perfect for the 'Paris in the rain' project, but I got tied up with what follows.

Photo Times - Part 1

One of my photographer neighbors needed the Metropole photographer's services and this was to be discussed on Wednesday. At the agreed time the problem was laid out.

The Ministry of Culture is busily filling up the Tuileries with modern sculpture. Two pieces were to be installed on Friday and a third would not arrive until Monday. The official inauguration is scheduled for next Wednesday.

The photographer could shoot the Friday installation and pass the film to the printer for the official inauguration's brochure. But for the Monday installation, the photo had to be at the printer's by noon. The only way to do this was with digital and Internet, and this is where Metropole's photo services came in.

A prologue to 'Part 1' was running a technical test on Thursday, using a statue in the park in front of the Mairie. The results seemed to indicate that the photos would be nearly 'big enough' and no more.

Then, as sort of a rehearsal, I got up while it was still dark on Friday - this explains the night-like marché photo - and was in the Tuileries by nine, with the official photographer, for the enactment of the first installation.

It was a good chance to continue the technical test, and this I did. Then with the artistic director of the whole project, the location for Monday's installation was inspected. Other than not knowing what Monday might have for light, the rush photo was practically done.

Some school kids were in the Jeu de Paume looking out of a window to see what we were doing, and I chanced a photo of this - which also chanced to be nearly Monday's projected photo-angle.

Back in the lab, the official photographer was impatient to see Metropole's photos. This took longer than it will on Monday, because of the number of earlier marché photos, plus some incidental gloomy-October photos of the Tuileries.

Also, a freak accident happened to the official photographer's 35 mm film. This is how one of Metropole's 'technical test' photos got to act as a stand-in for the black and white portion of the future brochure.

So much excitement caused Metropole's photo service to have a siesta for the rest of Friday; somewhat worried about the unknown subject of Metropole's feature of the week.

Photo Times - Part 2

On Saturday, I attempted to play photo catch-up. The weather was acting fickle with the light, flirting with raining, flirting with tiny bursts of too much light for rainy moods.

Between these two, there was a perfect light for posters, but it turned out to be fleeting. For one on a bus shelter, it was on the outside and low and my knees weren't doing well pretending to be a bent tripod.

The bus arrived. I couldn't see how many were waiting to get on it, nor how full it was. All the same, I had the lens caps on the camera, the cameraphoto: marche, market, early morning into the bag and zipped up, and my ticket out as I got on, and put it in and out of the tricky ticket-puncher - before seeing that the bus was full.

Now I know that early-morning marché photos are made while it is still last night.

At the driver's urging I gradually squeezed back to the space opposite the bus's rear doors. There wasn't quite enough room for people with bags; a lady's back was jamming the camera's bag against hold-on pole.

At Luxembourg, those not getting off got off the bus let those getting off, off, and it was a relief. Unrelieving was finding the camera's bag unzipped.

Inside, the camera was in an unhabitual position. What was not inside the bag was its lens cap. On starting it up, it was set for the external flash it doesn't have. Somebody's lightfingers weren't deft enough to extract the main part from the bag - possibly due to the crush in the bus and the camera's klotzy shape.

I hope whoever they are can get a good price for an original-equipment used lens cap. Meanwhile the rest of the machine could continue its job for this issue of Metropole and Monday's save-the-marbles shoot.

Photo Times - Part 3

Normally I am asleep on Mondays when I arrived at the Tuileries this morning. The sun coming up over the Louvre was inspiring, if less than full-power. It wouldn't do to have too much of it.

A large truck was in place already, with a very large piece of sculpture, caged in a steel frame; and other stand-ins were fiddling with the sculpture's base in front of the rear of the Jeu de Paume.

By ten the piece was unwrapped and hoisted for planting. However, the truck's crane had to reach a fair distance and this is when it was noticed that its capacity to do so was exceeded by the sculpture's weight. A bigger truck with a bigger crane was called for and this signalled café-time for the photographers.

The 'coming in ten minutes' stretched out a bit, the rising sun played hide and seek, ugly leaves were removed from overhead trees and a bush was inserted into a decor gap.

Once the trucks and the crew of eleven were cleared away, the shooting of the photos became over in 10 minutesphoto: autumn leaf and the photographers got away by noon. The photographer dropped his films into the 'pro' place in Delambre and at my place we picked three out of 25 and shot them off by 'net to Dijon.

Naturally the photographer is back within 45 minutes, to say the important photo - for the color - had arrived at half its size, and with its resolution in the cellar.

The two others, almost the throw-aways, are okay of course. All I have to do is remember what I did to the one photo, and do everything else to it except that one thing - but try to imagine my photographer with his portable phone explaining this when he understands it as well as I do not.


Continued on page 2...
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