Thursday, 6 June 2013

Past and Present No. 8: Marseille

I always travel with a small selection of faded vintage postcards in the hope that it might be possible to pair them with some contemporary views. Marseille proved to be intractable – economic forces and the Nazi occupation having obliterated all but the most securely rooted landmarks. The Vieux Port and the docks at la Joliette have been abandoned by maritime commerce in favour of leisure, culture and urban motorways. When I found a potential match I was often at a disadvantage – early postcard photographers being adept in the art of talking their way into neighbouring buildings to obtain an elevated viewpoint. In the absence of a personal drone or cherry-picker these are the best. Most frustrating was the trip to the corniche where I could see an almost perfect match if I had the power to hover in space some 4 metres from the seaward side of the path on which I was standing. It was pleasing to see that a bus passed the exact location of the tram in the postcard as the photo was taken. 

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