Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Long Shadow of Progress

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ Long Shadow of Progress ~

Long Shadow of Progress, originally uploaded by Paris Set Me Free.
BONUS: For Street Photography Fans!

Such a proper and prim little Parisienne, she's always been one of my favourites. But her days are numbered. Although there are plenty of her and her shutter sisters still proudly on duty throughout the older parts of the city, those fallen into disrepair are not being replaced.

Even worse, modern buildings don't even include shutters for her to hold steady, or gracefully bow her head to let open or close above her. She's a dying breed.

Is it significant, or merely maudlin mind-wanderings that make things from the past seem so much more, what... quaint, than things of our time? But then again 'quaint' simply means charmingly old-fashioned or having a pleasantly odd touch of nostalgia, which doesn't enlighten us much.

Do you think, way back when these little ladies were being installed, the locals were tut-tutting to themselves, saying,"Goodness gracious moi, what a load of newfangled nonsense! What was wrong with good old goat turds to keep the shutters open, that's what I want to know. What's the city coming to these days, good grief, grumble grumble...?"

Well I don't know. It's true I seem to spend a lot of time focusing on the past glories of Paris, but do I really? As one of the world's greatest sceptics, I don't tend to believe things unless I've seen them for myself or someone's given me a darn good explanation and justification for them. And, personally, I've never seen the past, so to speak, so who's going to convince me that it ever existed? You could argue that yes I have, if I remember my childhood, but that's just memories, whatever they are, and anyway, the childhood I knew was actually the current moment at the time!

What I'm looking at, when I see these cute little shutter dames, is the present, or some version thereof, as far as I'm concerned, although I'd equally defy you to tell me what 'the present' actually consists of, for that matter. If you told me that the present was 'today', for example, as I type this at 7.26am, I'd challenge you that half an hour ago, when I made my first coffee of the day just before 7am, is now 'the past', and that my meeting at 11.15am is most certainly in the future.

Anyway, these are the sort of deliciously and perhaps unsolvable conundrums that wandering around old cities stirs up, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Good day to you ma'am. Be seeing you around and keep up the good work. You never know when it'll be needed for another aimless existential rambles at sometime in the future... or the past? Which came first by the way? Are you sure? Can you prove it? On who's terms? A lot of people regret growing old because they don't want to die. But who spends their life pining because they didn't exist for so long before their birth? Weren't they equally non-alive? It's all a question of perspective, if you like. And if you don't like...

© 2011
Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Contact me directly for photo tours, interviews, exhibitions, etc.

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