Saturday, August 18, 2012

On Location - Giverny

   I'm back in the states and I thought I'd write one more "On Location in France" post.  I wasn't able to get to a place to post as much as I wanted to while I was in France and that was both good and bad.  I did want to share more images with you but I loved being "disconnected" as well!

   I want to write a bit about my experience in Monet's garden in Giverney since I touched on it in the last post before I left.  It is a great example of the anticipation being so much better than the reality.
I had absolutely no time or place to sit quietly and experience the garden.  There were so many people there that the best I could do was to keep from being run over! I did find a bench to sit on for awhile and "people watch" and I was amazed at how little of the garden they were actually looking at!  Most just walked through - some even on their  cellphones!- barely glancing at the lovely flowers. I couldn't help but wonder what Monet would think about all this.

   I made some photographs but it was very difficult to work around the hoards.  I could barely stand still without being jostled.  I thought at the time that this was no place for a contemplative photographer!

 When I got back to our house I worked on some of the images and tried to make something of them.  I'm not much of a fan of severe photoshop manipulations but I used some on these images.  Not really my thing but alright I guess.

    After nearly an hour of wandering the huge gardens and feeling more and more frustrated I came upon an image that summed up the experience for me.  You won't find it on any of the calendars of Monet's garden for sure - at least a dozen were available in the huge gift shop -  but it appeals to me for its perfect metaphoric quality.  THIS was the experience of  Monet's garden for me!  Even the hint of the chain in the foreground that kept the tourists back was meaningful.
      I call it "Chaos"...and the twisted curving branches certainly reflected the thoughts and feelings I had that day.  I guess a contemplative photographer can go anywhere and still make reflective and meaningful images!  That revelation was the best part of my visit to the garden.

    I will be posting next week on more of my reflections on these past two weeks and I look forward to settling back into the peace and quiet of my little farmhouse in Maine where I can think about this trip and my images.  I found traveling with my friends and family fun but it is difficult to be with people that just want to "tour" and not spend time with the landscape.  Observing the other tourists in Giverny that day certainly showed me the kind of photographer I could never be and I'll need to be sure that when I next leave to explore the world I do it MY way, slowly and thoughtfully and most probably alone!

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