Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Shakespeare & Co. Bookshop

I’m going to try and keep this brief, because I could write an essay on this. Shakespeare was my very first Literature love. I remember going to my nans local library looking for something different. I wanted something challenging but accessible to me as a child and wandered around that small library for ages (I’m not sure it’s still there anymore). Most people talk about first hearing the story of Romeo & Juliet, but the first piece of Shakespeare I sat down and read was actually a poem: ‘A Lover’s Complaint’. I can’t quite remember the title of the book it was in, but it was a collection of “forgotten” poems; indeed, I’m not entirely sure most people knew Shakespeare wrote poems!

‘A Lover’s Complaint’ is about a young woman full of woe due to losing her love, and feeling lost. Below is my favourite stanza:

" ‘Father’, she says ‘though in me you behold
The injury of many a blasting hour,
Let it not tell your judgment I am old;
Not age, but in sorrow, over me hath power.
I might as yet have been a spreading flower,
Fresh to myself, if I had self-applied
Love to myself, and to no love beside.’ "

I remember thinking how odd it was for someone so young to be so defeatist, so incapable of finding any light in her tortuous darkness. She goes on to admit she will soon be a fool again and fall in love with someone she knows will break her heart; and I wondered why she wasn’t stronger….of course being older, I now fully understand the torment of love lost.

That’s the reason I feel in love with Shakespeare. I didn’t always like the way he portrayed women, but his writing kept (and still keeps) me engrossed, made me think and was always worthy of debate – I hadn’t read anything that remotely made me feel that way, before Shakespeare.

With that, you can imagine how deliriously happy I was to head to Shakespeare & Co Bookshop, Paris. I actually got teary-eyed as we got closer and closer to it, and I immediately took my phone out to take pictures.

Now, you’re not actually allowed to take pictures inside, but bearing in mind what I have written above, I couldn’t not take pictures inside! These will not win any awards – they are not particularly special to look at, they are not edited in any way and most are out of focus; but it’s my love for this writer that makes these photos so special to me. This is the only authentic old school, bookshop dedicated to the great man and I love these mementos I took away with me…

Equipment: iPhone. I think when you are in a place where you're not allowed to take pictures, the last thing you want to do is bring out your huge camera and enable flash!
Editing: None

Can I go back now, please?!!

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Père Lachaise Cemetery

I have always identified myself as a Vintage-Pixie-Zombie, and the Zombie side of me loves cemeteries. There’s something about them so hauntingly inviting; walking amongst all the lost souls who have left their lifeless bodies for new adventures, is something that really appeals to me.

You will not find a more beautiful cemetery than Père Lachaise Cemetery. It’s so vast and you could easily (as I did) spend a multitude of hours there. It is arguably the most famous in the world, with graves and monuments dedicated to some of the most inspiring people to ever grace this earth:

  • Oscar Wilde
  • Jim Morrison
  • Molière (comic playwright)
  • Chopin (pianist)
  • Paul Eluard (poet)
  • Georges Rodenbach (poet and novelist), are just a few names whose bodies found their final resting place, here.

I found myself there with two friends and it was wonderful to experience it with them. We basked in our amazement and love for this cemetery, which is so inconspicuous as you enter, but as you start to walk around you really get a sense of how special the place is – a world treasure. It was a spectacular day, with nearly every crevasse bathed in sunlight, it was truly one of the best experiences I have ever had.
Equipment: I took these pictures with my camera phone (iPhone). I know photography snobs will recoil with disgust, but I love these pictures! It actually happened by mistake, because I had my gorgeous Olympus TRIP with me and took a full roll of film – only to snap said film as I wound it (the ultimate photography fail). I took these photos in colour, but used my ‘Vintage Camera’ Application, to turn them into Black and White.
Editing: There is very little editing here and not all have been edited. I have slightly sharpened the focus on a few and lightened some of the darkest shadows.

You can view the full 16-picture gallery, over on my Flickr page, here.

‘Til next time! :)