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Posts from the ‘Marseille’ Category

on looking for the vanishing point

1 : a point at which receding parallel lines seem to meet when represented in linear perspective
2 : a point at which something disappears or ceases to exist  —Merriam Webster Dictionary

A vanishing point is a point on the image plane of a perspective drawing where the two-dimensional perspective projections (or drawings) of mutually parallel lines in three-dimensional space appear to converge.  —Wikipedia

Mary Berry, an English non-fiction writer, arrived in Paris on Sunday, March 14, 1802. At 1:00 p.m. the next day, she went to the Louvre. “To give any idea of this gallery is quite impossible,” she wrote.

“You ascend to it (at present) by a commodious plain staircase, and first enter a large square room [the Salon Carré] … lined with all the finest Italian pictures, very well placed as to light. Out of this room you enter a gallery [the Grande Galerie]—such a gallery. But such a gallery!!! As the world never before saw, both as to size and furniture! So long that the perspective ends almost in a point [emphasis mine], and so furnished that at every step, tho’ one feels one must go on, yet one’s attention is arrested by all the finest pictures that one has seen before in every other country, besides a thousand new ones.”

If I want to impress someone when I visit a museum, I will mention the vanishing point in a painting. I will choose a painting with a single vanishing point, maybe one with two, and they are often obvious, and ask, “Have you noticed that this artist has used a single point to focus the elements in the painting?”  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

Once I did that while visiting a photography exhibit in southern France. A camera crew happened to be there. As I pointed to this and that in the photo, talking away, and without knowing, I was being filmed. When I looked up and back, I saw what was occurring and someone with the camera crew beckoned me to continue.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.) But wait, there’s more!

on seeing the vieux port in marseille in black and white

The Vieux Port in Marseille is wide open. No trees. The buildings are four to five stories. The highest point is inland, and it is la basilique Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde. It is too far away to cast a shadow on the Port.

That means the Mediterranean sun lights up the Port and reflects light off the water. Many, many boats are moored in the port and they are white. Not all of them, of course, but enough when I write that all the boats are white on the Port. They reflect the light as well.

The buildings that line the port are pale and creamy and look unwashed. When the light is at a certain state, the edges of the buildings are indistinct from one another from a distance.

Go along the coast, let’s say to Martigues, and there one sees a strong, iron blue water, and set against it are the burnt orange and blues and ochre of the buildings. Many of the boats in the harbor are painted with bold blue and yellow hues.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

The color at the Vieux Port really is in the clothing. And that is seldom bold. All right, I do see the occasional red jacket, and the jacket I wear is bright blue, purple maybe.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

But wait, there’s more!

on looking at 2 images in one photograph

Taking photographs with two images in one frame that are connected to each other is fun.

These photographs are divided into two parts. Each one is precisely divided in half with a “line” down the middle.

One side will have a discreet image and the other side as well. Sometimes a wall separates them. Maybe it will be shadow. An edge of a building or a post will do the same thing. A wall. A tree. What separates an image into two parts side by side can be anything really. Although I have not included an example, a person can separate two worlds, the two images within one photograph.

Sometimes it is fun to take the hand and cover one half of the photo and look only at the other half. Is that image a world unto itself without the other side?  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

Then repeat the trick but on the other side. Then take the hand, or a piece of paper or a note card away, and do the two side work together to create a third, bigger image? (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

Two images making a third for the price of one. 

But wait, there’s more!

on walking rue dignan and on remembering where bourdain drank

A straight and narrow street cuts across a central portion of Marseille. It is rue Dignan which slices through the first arrondissement from the Jardin de la Colline Puget to near Cours Julien. It is sandwiched between Boulevard de la Corderie on the west end and the small street rue Estelle on the east end.

Rue Estelle meets the Escaliers du Cours Julien. In French “escalier” means “stairs” or “steps.” The escalier is known for its street art.

Elaine Sciolino, a former New York Times correspondent, wrote a book on rue des Martyrs in Paris titled “The Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue Des Martyrs.” She has said, “It’s a half-mile of magic.”

Elaine Sciolino lived nearby for a number of years on a small feeder street into rue des Martyrs, so she knows rue des Martyrs well.

I have often wondered if rue Dignan might deserve some recognition. Maybe it might not rise to the stature of rue des Martyrs as Sciolino lived it. However, rue Dignan shape shifts enough that someone clever could write an account that challenges its anonymity.

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The economic fortunes of rue Dignan changes from the Jardin de la Colline Puget to Cours Julien. It seems to be middle class in the area near the Jardin, moves into a more boutique and upscale look in the middle, then becomes decidedly poorer as one approaches rue Estelle and then climbs the stairs to Cours Julien.

Pausing on the overpass that crosses Cr Lieutaud and looking around, it is easy to see that money has not been invested in the area.

But wait, there’s more!