Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Seen but not Heard. Cemetery Portraits

When I'm in Menton, and I'm in the right mood, I like to visit the ancient cemeteries. 

Both the popular Cimetière du Vieux-Chateau and the lesser known Cimetière du Trabuquet have enviable panoramic views from their grand perches high above the town.  I find both to be beautiful in their own way but it's the Cimetiere du Vieux-Chateau where all the tourists go.  Believe it or not, it boasts its own Trip Advisor page, filled with glowing reviews, I might add.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Seeking Nostalgia on Cat Street


Lately it seems I've been seeking nostalgia.  

I've started a collection of scratchy, old French 78 RPM shellac records that I love listening to on my equally old and scratchy French gramophone.  The idea of digging through boxes of old photographs and postcards or finding a shelf of vintage cookbooks makes me giddy.  Perhaps it will pass, probably when I run out of space.

Wherever I travel, I research the local flea markets and garage sales, any nook and cranny where I may find treasures.  God love Hubby for indulging me.

I can't quite put my finger on exactly what it is about an old photograph that pulls me in and makes me want to own it.  I think it starts with the sense that a moment in time is being captured.  Following that, I feel a wistfulness that perhaps the person in the photo passed away and that's how it wound up in a box of old photos:  given away by accident or worse, by heirs who saw no value in keeping it. 

I pull myself out of this swirl by imagining that it was once a treasured possession for someone in the past.  It's a little bit of an emotional storm.

In Hong Kong recently, I poked around Cat Street, always a gold mine of quirky vintage goodies even though some of them are overpriced for the tourist trade.  I found some intriguing black and white photos and some 2 1/4" transparencies that have lost all their once vibrant colours over time and faded to a cheery pink.  After a bit of negotiating, (natch) they were mine.  

Who are the people in these images?  Are they still alive?  What were their lives like and how did these photographs manage to end up in a dusty old box of photos on Cat Street?  

I wish I knew...