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You have here, visitor, a photo and journal blog whose veracity can be trusted, a blog which cautions you from the moment of your first visit that it has set itself no other goal but a private one.  It has not been created to obey you nor to enhance its creator’s reputation: its scope is inadequate for such a purpose.  For a goal more modest it is dedicated to friends and family, so that they can find some familiar features and quirks and humors that remind them more fully of the author’s character.  If the design for the posts here had been to seek the admiration of the world, the blog would have been embellished in a much more careful manner.  Instead simplicity, naturalness, everyday fashion, without overindulgence or guile: that is the person who is present.  Instead, you will witness his weaknesses and his vulnerability but the soundness and the talent that will portray him most completely.  And therefore, visitor, the author himself is the subject of this photo and journal blog: trust him, or not, it is not reasonable that you should spend your leisure time on a site that is so frivolous and so vain.

Therefore, au revoir:
from un flâneur
this first of January, Two thousand thirteen.

En remerciement de l’aide de Michel de Montaigne

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Helen #

    Good for you. I have always hated crowds…or when immersed, floated with them. Is that what you are doing?

    • I do like to be anonymous in a crowd and observe. I have noticed, however, that I am pegged as a foreigner before I reveal my American accent. The French know. Maybe I should not take my man-bag into public and maybe I should hide my camera or leave it at home or certainly not carry it over my shoulder and whip it up to my face at a moment’s notice. My ExOfficio Air Strip shirts give me away, too.

  2. I am preparing comments to accompany an exhibit of photographs this December in Boston, which is titled: Les Nuits de Noël: An American Flâneur in Paris. I chanced upon your website doing research and wish to thank you for a very pleasant stroll through a few of your pages. As well as to thank you for posting the original French of the famous text from Baudelaire on the species.

    • Have you seen the following site and film?

      The following text appears half way down the page and under the film to which it refers:

      “One of the most potent words in the Benjamin lexicon is the French term flâneur. The flâneur is a “stroller, idler, walker,” a “well-dressed man, strolling leisurely through the Parisian arcades of the nineteenth century—a shopper with no intention to buy, an intellectual parasite of the arcade” (as Benjamin website “The Arcades Project Project” defines it). The flâneur is an individual of privilege and a progenitor of the male gaze: “Traditionally the traits that mark the flâneur are wealth, education, and idleness. He strolls to pass the time that his wealth affords him, treating the people who pass and the objects he sees as texts for his own pleasure.” The flâneur is not simply a passive observer; he is instead a kind of lazy urban predator, and also a dandy and proto-hipster. Perhaps the most sinister representation of this character (in a different urban context) is the creepy Svidrigailov in Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment.

      In the 1998 film above, Flâneur III: Benjamin’s Shadow, Danish director Torben Skjodt Jensen and writer Urf Peter Hallberg collaborate on an impressionistic black-and-white meditation on Paris, overlaid with Hallberg’s ruminations and quotations from Benjamin. Benjamin’s fascination with nineteenth-century Paris drove his massive, unfinished Arcades Project, an excavation of the inner workings of modernity. Where One Way Street is marked by a very dated 90’s aesthetic (which may look chic now that the decade’s back in fashion), the above film is both classical and modernist, a testament to the beauties and contradictions of Paris. I think in this respect, it is a more fitting tribute to the critical and contradictory aesthetic theory of Walter Benjamin.”

  3. Carrie Sullivan Warmenhoven #

    Mr. Groves!!! What an adventure you are on. I have thought about you so many times through the years, the teacher that pushed me so hard in middle school. I so wish I would have used that journal the way you intended. Enjoy your journey and I hope to hear from you.

    Carrie Sullivan


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