Thursday, September 24, 2015

Planning Ahead

Five of us met at Christiane's last evening to coordinate final plans for our trip to Venice. We leave next Monday and will spend 4 nights/3 days exploring that fascinating city. Christiane has been before so she has a lot of information; I added my 2 cents worth compliments of Rick Steves...my favorite travel guru. This traveling in a small group will be a new experience for me. I'm usually on my own, but I think seeing the sights with these friends will be fun. And sharing the expenses certainly makes it easier on the budget.
After sorting out who's driving, what time we'll leave, where the apartment is and if there is a hair dryer provided, we got down the 'real' business of the evening...drinking and nibbling on apero treats! Greg brought a bottle of Aperol, and he put together a traditional Venice aperitif, the Aperol Spritz. They say that Americans were introduced to the Spritz at Harry's Bar in Venice. I intend to make a pilgrimage visit there myself..A Spritz and the ghost of Hemingway who had his own table there during the winter of 1949-50...what better reasons to pay homage!
Our Spritz's before adding the champagne!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Mary from Cardaillac

You see lots of statues of Mary in this Catholic country, but the Mary that stands outside the church in the tiny village of Cardaillac is a bit unusual. She looks very casual in her everyday blue robe and with her dark hair framing her face. Cardaillac is designated one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France and was the seat of power for the formidable Cardaillac family in the Middle Ages. It has the distinction of being attacked by Richard the Lionheart as he traveled across France on his home from the Crusades.
The commanding view from the top of the Tour Sagnes makes the climb up this 13th century fortified tower well worth the effort!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Full of Questions

Today I'm sharing my favorite photo from last Friday's trip to the exhibit in Montsales. While I love colorful photos full of interesting images, this black and white photo by Yves Machatschek caught my eye and my imagination like none of the others did. First reason...I love black and white photography. But more than that I love a photo that makes me think. This one certainly makes me ask several questions...all of which tell a story.

The story centers around the sign at the top of the stairs. It advertises a girly show. 'Interdit aux mineurs' means minors are forbidden to enter. Under the drawing of the scantily-clad blonde are photographers of equally scantily-clad young women who are part of the show inside.

Here are my questions: Who is the stern-looking woman next to the sign? Is she the madame who runs the show and takes care of the girls? Is she a town matron there to fetch her husband or her son home? Or maybe she's part of a morality delegation come to protest the performances inside? Could she be the mother of the forlorn little girl sitting on the curb?

And who is that little girl? Is her daddy inside taking a peek while she waits patiently? I hope that not-nice-looking woman isn't her mother; the child looks as if she needs a hug, not a hard look. Or perhaps the little girl's mother is one of the young women who is part of the peep-show? With bows in her hair and snowy white knee socks, the child looks well-cared for whoever she belongs to...even if she doesn't look very happy.

Lots of stories could be told about this photo. Do you have one?

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Galerie La Tour

La Tour
Montsales
Yesterday afternoon a friend and I drove to the tiny village of Montsales located on the Aveyron causse. Our destination was a photo exposition here in its restored fortified tower built in the 14th century during the 100 Years' War. The tower's original purpose was to serve as a watchtower for invading troops and English bandits which roamed the area along the Lot River valley. Today the lovely donjon is an intriguing exhibit space for art and photographs.
A visit here is not for the faint-hearted or anyone unsteady on their feet! We climbed three flights of narrow, uneven stone stairs to view photographs by three different photographers. If my legs had been any shorter, there were a couple of the steps I wouldn't have been able to climb. The ground level held lovely color images of illuminated cave interiors and macro shots of water drops by Jean-Francois Fabriol.
The top two floors were devoted to the works of two photographers who mainly work in black and white images, John Agar and Yves Machatschek. Matchatschek's celebrity photos were fascinating. The view from the window half-way up the tower had me on the look-out for invading armies and bandits.
The stone walls of the tower displayed the photographs brilliantly. In my next blog post, I'll share my favorite photo of the exhibit. As interesting as the celebrity photos were, my favorite was quite different. It may surprise you!

Thursday, September 10, 2015