Thursday 8 January 2009

Postcard of the Day No. 23, Bordeaux

A weekend walk in the park in early Twentieth Century formal dress. Almost every face is turned away from us. Tiny visual echoes of long vanished lives can be detected. The camera captures the scene with the same compositional neutrality as Manet employed in Music in the Tuileries. A large cast of figures pass the photographer’s plate including schoolgirls accompanied by a governess, bowler-hatted gentlemen, deep in conversation, a pair of soberly attired, tight-waisted females, and right of centre, a nurse pushes a pram and a small and startlingly luminous girl turns her head towards us. She has an almost spectral presence. The footbridge in the background is packed with the to and fro of Sunday strollers. The rigid period dress codes extend to leisure activities. For those fortunate to live a full lifespan, two world wars lie ahead and an old age spent in truly baffling times.

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