From the bilingual French-English book " Ile de Grand Manan Island" , story # 1 out of 31
Grand Manan would not be Grand Manan without its ferry and its lighthouse. You take one to come, you see the other one when you arrive. Of course, once on the island, you’ll discover that there are or have been other ferries, and that there are or have been other lighthouses, but because these two were your first encounter, they are the ones that you’ll most strongly keep in your memory. Images of your first love, in other words, with its particular colors, its perfume of adventure, its exoticism. It means you don’t always need to go far away to feel far away. It’s sometimes enough to take a boat in a remote terminal at the end of an improbable road, and you are there. You now feel that the story won’t stop at that, and once on the trail that leads to Swallowtail, you are watching for the moment when the ferry pass off -in the absence of seals or whales, and you know that that’s it, you belong to the island.
From the bilingual French-English book " Ile de Grand Manan Island" , story # 1 out of 31
You regularly see one somewhere along any path, a box you wonder what purpose it can serve, and what kind of differences it would make if you were to take it home with you. This one, fortunately for the rest of humanity, is high perched on an old lobster park and, a priori, has nothing to fear from vandalism. It may even still be connected to a power line which will protect it all the more. What you don’t know, however, is whether the picture was taken before the box was disassembled, or if it’s still there. All you have to do is go and check for yourself if you find it, somewhere along Shore Road. In any case, and whatever the outcome of your investigation, you’ll have beautiful views of the old lobster parks and Nantucket Islands, Ross Island and Great Duck Island in the distance. If only for these reasons, it’s worth taking the trip.
From the bilingual French-English book "Ile de Grand Manan Island", story #16 out of 31
Contrary to appearances, there is nothing like a right time and a right place. It would be too simple and too easy. Time and place have to be manipulated in order to fit, and you do it either by moving a little, or by waiting a little. Of course, the general setting must be in place when you arrive, but if you do not see it, it disappears quickly. In that sense, you are the one organizing everything, adjusting the details, deciding when it is right. It is true for a photograph, it is true for more general events too. If you are not ready, if you are not looking for something, nothing will happen. The difficulty resides in the fact that you cannot have a clear idea of what to look for, otherwise you would know how to get it and it would blind you to other possibilities. At the same time, you have to have at least an idea that something could happen in a field you are interested in, otherwise you would never be able to concentrate enough to see what could be interesting. In other words, you have to be prepared, but there is a limit to what you can prepare for, and there is also a limit to how much you can manage correctly when it happens. There will never be a right time and a right place if you do not prepare yourself for it, and count only on chance. It is relying on miracles, rare occurrences that, anyway, can bless only the faithful. You have to be on the lookout for an undetermined amount of time, and the longer the better. It could be depressing if you only concentrate on one thing, yet if you are open to many possible occurrences, you have a better chance of finding them at one point or another. It is just a law of probability, spread you bet, win more often. Knowing that desire quickly substitutes pleasure, it seems a good tactic in the long run. In that sense, there could be something like a right place and a right time, but only you make it happen by us quickly grabbing what comes in view and fits your need. It is still a hunting technique, whether you like it or not.
This story is extracted from Images, Voyages, Impressions 2
At first, you do not even see her. While she, she saw you a long, long time ago, as soon as you appeared in fact, and she surveyed you, giving you a danger rating, ready to jump if you were too menacing. It seems that you are not, not yet anyhow, how could you be when you are not even aware she is there? When you do see her, it is you that will jump, scared, or at least surprised and a bit confused. How is it possible that she escaped your attention? She is only a frog, nothing to worry about, but imagine if she had been a more menacing creature. Once you come back to your senses, you will start to appreciate her ability to blend into the background. She is here without being here, a lesson in humility one might say. Or in survival, depending on your point of view. Anyway, she seems completely at ease, relaxed, happy, is that not a smile you can discern on her face? Is she smiling to you or at you, you cannot know. From her perspective, it is not even clear that she sees you as you think you appear. You might say that she sees your legs mainly, the comic flip-flops you are wearing today, and way above, a gray shape reaching the sky, out of her horizon. Or perhaps, considering the shape of her eyes, she sees you as two different entities, reconstructing you in her head in a way you cannot fathom. In any case, there will only be this fleeting encounter between you and her, no answers provided, you will go, she will go, your worlds are too far apart to allow any communication. You seem to understand what she is doing, it is possible that she has an idea of what you are doing, yet you will never know for sure, and it could be anthropomorphism pure and simple. A green frog between green stems is a complete mystery that you can only capture on your camera and look at later, wondering what to make of this encounter. Which proves that you are still far from knowing as much as you thought you knew, does it not?
This story is extracted from Images, Voyages, Impressions, 2, a book with fifty-two stories and fifty-two photos to be published soon.
You have seen them in all the schools you ever attended, they have hidden your secrets and mistakes, they have been your little refuges far from home, you have slammed their doors more than once and it got you into trouble, however you suddenly realize you have never seen them for what they are. Left to themselves, they shine, they transcend their mundane utility, they are artworks, colors, lines. How can you have been so mistaken? They were there, all stuck together in what seemed infinite rows, they had no identity apart the one conferred by stickers bearing the names of their temporarily owners, after a while, you knew the way they reacted when you were opening their doors, each one had its own particularities, but it was not obvious at first, and most of the time, these particularities seemed to come more from something you had done, like jamming the lock or bending a shelf inside, rather than coming directly from them. Now that you see them in an unexpected place and in an unexpected position, you wonder if these lockers whose contrasting colors would have offended all the headmasters of all your successive schools have a personality that you can only see when they are in an unusual setting. Or if they change personalities when they move from one location to another, like you do. If this is the case, it opens a world of opportunities, and you are thinking that this old lamp you have in your basement, if you were to put it in another place, could it start a new life? Instead of buying new trinkets to decorate your home, could not you move the old ones, and play with them in order to change the impression they give? Using your imagination instead of your wallet suddenly seems very appealing. Of course, the end result would be your image, original or, depending on the opinions, crazy, but would you not be at least the main character in your life instead of an extra playing a role someone else decided you should do? In fact, it is decided, as soon as you get home, you will begin to create your own masterpiece, they are waiting for you in the attic boxes.
From my upcoming book, Images, Voyages, Impressions, 2
You see four people at the edge of the fog, busy looking for something in between the pebbles, or at their feet, but what attracts you first is the color of their clothes, bright red and orange with patches of white in an otherwise brown gray surrounding. It is life versus oblivion, light against shadow, fantasy against uniformity. Then you get the vague memory of a picture hanging somewhere in a museum, a Whistler painting perhaps, or a Turner, a nineteenth-century painter in any case. You remember some characters along a beach, bent on something you cannot discern precisely, surrounded by fog. Like the picture, your memory lacks clarity, and it is not the first time that you have insights of that kind, as if there was a repetition of some patterns lost in between other memories. Anyway, if the story here is the story of four people on a beach looking for something you do not know anything about, and if it is a scene you have already seen, you begin to realize there must be a sense of eternity in it. It also means you have a sense of what eternity is, albeit vague. It is perhaps as simple as brightly clothed forms strolling along the seashore, looking for bits and pieces of nothing, looking for something entirely different from what they will eventually find, drawn by the pleasure of the find more than by the actual find, their acts the embodiment of a life spent strolling on the earth towards something that escapes them, but enjoying the search nevertheless. If Whistler painted this picture a long time ago, assuming it was him, it must also have occurred to him that there was, in it, an idea to be represented. Now that you get the same impression from a different but identical scene, is it not the proof that something hides behind appearances?
Story #2, extract from the upcoming book, Images, Voyages, Impressions, 2
The top of the stairway is like a conch, with a touch of light inside. You had to climb hundreds of steps to arrive here, it was not a free ride, yet you had hoped it would be worth the price. So far, the journey to the top has been an adventure. This old tower is full of stories and mysteries. You imagine lots of people coming here before you with their joy and sorrow, hope and despair. You know nothing about them, but you know that they still exist in the worn out steps, the smooth handrails, the glistening stones. You have stopped many times to look up, at least it is what you said at the time, although it was also to catch your breath. You have seen this magnificent conch become bigger and bigger until you were inside, able to marvel at the details of the carvings and the time, patience and skills involved. In a way, you would like to own such an architectural beauty, put it in your home, look at it with delight, but you know that even if you could, it would not be reasonable. You do not have the rest of the building to go with it, and besides, you are just passing like everyone else. So you linger a bit more, hoping that nobody will come and spoil the moment. Then you take the little door that opens to the outside. More light, the light of the sun this time, it makes you blink. Gradually you make out the red roofs of the old town below, the new buildings shining white further on the other side of the river, and far in the distance, the first mountains. On your right, an iron cast angel blows into a trumpet, and behind, the slatted roof of the cathedral with its two fine towers looks to the north. What a view! You were not sure it was a good idea to come up here. There were many other things you wanted to do with the short time you had, but for once you are glad you followed your instinct. You are now above everything in this town, and you had forgotten how wonderful it is to be on top of the world.
From the book or ebook "Images, Voyages, Impressions" 52 stories and 52 photos, see info on the right
I like posting on this blog but May and June are busy months, I am showing a lot in and around Boston so I do not have enough time to write and post new stories, I'll be back in July I expect.
In the meantime, if you are around, come and see me on location -dates and places should appear on the Twitter link on the right- or upload my ebook to keep up with your reading.
I do not usually take woodblocks to cut a small format print as the kind of wood I use, plywood, is quite unpredictable under the gouges, however I thought I should try for the prints I did in March. Sure enough, I encountered some difficulties: here, the nose of the puffin is not as complex as it should be, the wood went away too quickly when I tried to work out the fine details. I had to use red watercolor later to compensate for the problem. One eye is in fact a nail I added when the wood chip supposed to represent it flew away. So Bonaparte appears fine and fierce as long as you do not look at him closely, but could it be a better representation of him than the one I had in mind? Do you see the errors? Do they affect the overall aspect of the print?
To forbid is to define what is legal and/or accepted. Is it however limiting what is possible, or just implicitly recognizing the potential of what is possible?
Dominique lives in the Boston area where he taught philosophy and theory of knowledge for a long time before deciding to devote all his time to his own creations.
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The books Images, Voyages Impressions 1 & 2 are sold out. The book about Grand Manan is available on the main site for $27.50 or $30 (depending on shipping costs).
Ebooks are available on iTunes, Amazon.fr and Amazon.co.uk for about $8
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