Friday, April 03, 2009

layers, looking, pizza

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There is a reflection in the glass screen with its metal frames, of the photographer, me (leaning sideways) so as to include his companion, Heidi, in the reflected view. Graffiti has been scratched on to the glass. Sitting with his back to the screen, and seen through the glass, is a passenger( not reflected) waiting at a different stop. Beyond the screen and this passenger is a bus with other passengers. On the far side of the bus is a waiting room, with a time table on the outside wall. Between the photographer and the glass screen is a railing. Various shadows intervene. There are, I think, at least six different layers.

Although I have drawn and painted since I was a child, I believe that it is only recently that I have begun to look at pictures with the care and attention they deserve. Even now I admit to paying insufficient attention to detail. As I do my stint of A La Recherche Du Temps Perdu to day, I realize how far short of Proust's narrator, Marcel, I must fall in this respect.
After trying for a long time to get to know the aristocratic Geurmantes family, Marcel is invited to a dinner party given by the Duke and Duchess. One of his expressed interests which has brought him into contact with the Guermantes in the first place is their possession of paintings by Elistir, a fictional impressionist painter, based largely on Monet. Before dinner Marcel is conducted by his host to the room, where the Elistirs are hanging, and asks to be left alone with them. So absorbed is he that he forgets the time, and realizes that he has delayed the serving of dinner.
He tells the story to illustrate the manners of the Guermantes who are at pains not let him feel embarrassed by the delay, which later he learns to have been no less than three quarters of an hour. Marcel tells the story to illustrate the rules of etiquette and courtesy observed by the family, but it also argues that looking at pictures is a serious business.

In the street, I pass a man carrying in one hand a pizza in a large, cardboard pack, like a waiter carrying a tray. In his other hand is a mobile phone into which he talks to continuously

4 comments:

marja-leena said...

Mirrors facing mirrors in them, endlessly repeating into their depths seemingly, are a fascination of mine. You've captured that feeling just in the reflections here!

I love the story of the art lover...

The Crow said...

Good photograph. Really like the layering of life in it.

Lucas said...

Brilliant photo! Lots of detail like a painting.

Barrett Bonden said...

The photo looks as though it's part of a trailer for L'année dernière à Marienbad. A film that greatly mystified my mother but caused my youngest brother (about ten at the time) to talk loquaciously and enthusiastically to her the whole of the return journey on the bus.

Proust adds another dimension to the delayed meal story by having the narrator refer to it in a laconic, slightly amused way. Perhaps because there is another side to the Duc de Guermantes - jeering at people who are lower on the social scale. Or perhaps people who refuse to discharge their social obligations to the letter.