Spaces, Places

I suppose it’s part of getting more mature – I won’t say ‘old’ since in my heart I’m 28 with a Testarossa – but I’ve been thinking about places. We create echoes of remembrance about place – why do we photograph them – and the echoes resonate down the years, becoming sepia toned and mellow like fine Armagnac. Some are simply breathtaking, others nestle quietly in the interstices of  experience, of themselves inconsequential, Koestler’s ‘shrugs of eternity’. 
Paris is one of the oldest cities in Europe, a place for grown-ups, urbane and well-cut, like a good suit. The Merovingian kings founded palaces here, St Denis, apostle to the Gauls, was beheaded here, a statue on the left portal of Notre Dame depicts him holding his head, and many more suffered the same fate at the hands of Madame la Guillotine in the ironically named Place de la Concorde, kicking and screaming as they were led from the Conciergerie to their fate. It’s barely less dangerous now – get in the wrong lane and one circles forever around the seventh circle of hell. 

This is a quiet Montmartre. Many thanks, BB. At night, it’s one of my favourite places.

The sprawl of greater Istanbul from the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara with seventeen million souls straddling Asia and Europe bisected by the deep, fast flowing Bosphorus has been inhabited continuously for two thousand seven hundred years, as Byzantium, Constantinople and finally, in 1930, Istanbul
Devotion to Artemis was especially favoured by the Byzantines for her aid in having protected them from the incursions of Philip of Macedon. Her symbols were the crescent and star, and ‘the walls of her city were her provenance’, which were later echoed in the Ottoman conquest of 1453 when the Islamic crescent ruled for almost four hundred and fifty years.
It’d be all too obvious to post something grand like a shot of the Suleimaniya Mosque or Hagia Sofia – the mosaics are quite beautiful – instead, this is Tarabya, where I used to live – with the restored marina and presidential palace on the shoreline. Flower-lovers attend the annual tulip festival and you can almost see my old apartment on the hillside.

So much for nostalgia, a dish best consumed in small quantities, with an appropriate coulis of reality.

2 thoughts on “Spaces, Places

  1. I have not had the pleasure of visiting either city, but certainly hope to do so in the future.

    The 'echoes of remembrance' in my life begin with an uncut hayfield under a stunning azure sky, a hot, capricious breeze scudding the cottonball clouds across my vision as I lay on my back in a languid stupor.

    As I age, I wonder what the last of those 'echoes' will be. I'm hopeful of something at least as pleasurable as the first.

    Maybe even one of your beloved cities.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.