Andrea Calestani Photographer

Paris Marseille 1979

Paris and photography, in that sabbatical year of 1979, were a rare collision of passions. And as often happens to me, since those remote times, my photographic muse expresses itself best arm in arm with my scattered love affairs. Whether they can be indifferently attributable to places or people.

Without a doubt, the state of mind amplifies and excites the creativity of my mind, which transforms what the eye sees around it into a photographic image. Certainly, with lenses distorted by emotions. An aesthetic movement that ends up inexorably inside the photo.

I arrived in Paris from Marseille. But it was in the French capital that my photographic mood lit up. The performances of the buskers in front of the new Beaubourg: the fire-eater, mimes and musicians. And the spectators of those little shows; to form an unlikely kaleidoscope of colours, faces, poses, expressions within a continuous, dazzling exchange of actor-spectator roles.

Colourful characters against the intense green background of the hedges and flowerbeds of Les Tuileries. And again, the portrait of those very tender “Peynet-style” lovers, without knowing it, sitting on the steps of the Sacre Coeur. The Seine, grey. Ancient mother. As every river is, or fiumara, which generously allowed cities, commerce, arts and loves to grow luxuriantly on their banks.

Then she, the prima ballerina of the “Ville Lumière”. Every time I went out of the door of Rue de Monttessuy, where I lived, and turned my gaze to the right, I really seemed to hear the incipit of an orchestra, and it bursting in from behind the scenes of an imaginary stage: the Tour Eiffel. Dressed in her pretentious, thousand steel lace. With a never banal silhouette; always in contrast with any backdrop sky. Reassuring compass needle of my solitary wandering through the hundred streets of the city.

The interminable Parisian rainy season hadn’t stopped me. I looked after the cameras; for me I didn’t carry any umbrella. Using it, I had the well-founded fear of wanting to shield myself from my demanding “lover”. I let the rain pour over me. Free as it fell from the sky.

I was pouring out the vent of my soul’s prostrations into that frenetic stroll through those places. But she, “Paris ma belle”, knew how to annihilate them.

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