gooollysandra

Thoughts on thoughts and images of beautiful things

Tag Archives: pandemic

Paris

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Seeing these ‘Then & Now’ pictures of Paris by Eugene Atget are striking, showing the parallel between the late 1800s/early 1900s and the past several months as the pandemic has taken hold of the world and forced people to stay at home. I have loved photography since I was in high school and took a few black & white dark room photography classes. I was also in the photography club that met on Fridays after school. I have been in awe of Atget’s photographs since my family took a trip to France for three weeks one summer when I was in high school. His photographs are eerie, majestic, and magical depictions of Paris, laced in fog and devoid of people. He achieved these dreamy scenes by getting up early and taking photographs before the streets swelled with Parisians and tourists.

The present day photos of Paris during the pandemic were taken by Mauricio Lima, who has followed in Atget’s footsteps and recreated the same scenes. The lesson learned from both Atget’s and Lima’s depictions of Paris is that people may need Paris, but Paris does not need people. It stands in its grandeur, with or without its inhabitants and visitors. I don’t quite know what to make of this, whether to be comforted or insulted, but I think we can all rest assured that the magic of Paris can endure and outlast adversity.

At the drive-in

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Lincoln Yards Drive In: Blockbuster Nostalgia

I remember seeing people going to drive-in movies in shows and movies and thought they were so cool, but I never had a chance to go to one because drive-ins were so few and far between. There certainly weren’t any where I lived. Imagine my excitement when the drive-in made a resurgence in recent months because of the pandemic! I went to a drive-in movie and concert for Halloween, my first one, and it was mostly as I pictured it, albeit a bit cold. The movie was The Exorcist, apropos the occasion, and the music was punk. Sitting in the car, eating popcorn, and trying to get the sound right on the radio was fun, although trying to find a good angle so that everyone in the car could see proved to be a bit challenging. It was not the drive-in date make-out scenario you might be picturing that you’ve seen in the movies. There were four of us in the car, one couple and two friends. The concert portion of the night was a unique experience with everyone out in front of their cars, sharing in the music together, but separately. No mosh pits!

This article by Judy Carmack Bross about the nostalgia evoked by drive-in movies perfectly encapsulates how audiences have received and rejoiced the drive-in, forced by the circumstances of the pandemic. While drive-ins are mostly pop-up fixtures at the moment, hopefully they’ll stick around in some capacity after the pandemic, since they’ve regained popularity. I know that I myself want to go to more!

Virtual voyages

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One of the biggest disappointments for people amid this pandemic has been the cancelled travel plans and not knowing when we’ll able to plan a trip again in the future. I really enjoyed this article by Reif Larsen in the New York Times advocating for virtual travel since, well, it’s our only option right now. I especially liked his virtual voyage to Charleston, SC with his son because I went there last winter with my parents and we were enamored by its southern charm. His voyage was powered by Google Street View, which albeit is amazing that we’re able to see the world through the lens of Google, it doesn’t compare to being there and feeling the history and beauty around you. I admire Larsen’s creativity in recreating the trip as much as possible, complete with landing at the airport and getting a rental car to navigate through Charleston.

Larsen also identifies why we travel in the first place, which is not only to see places we want to explore, but also, or perhaps mainly, to chase that ever elusive feeling of getting away –

“This is why we travel: to force ourselves to take a breath, to bend space and time, even if just for a moment. We go there so we can come back and appreciate the here.”

The not being able to get away that we’re experiencing right now is wearing down on all of us. In an effort to find new ways to get away, maybe we consider how spending time at home, which we might not normally do, can be our new refuge. Instead of resenting our homes because we have no choice but to be there, let’s try to embrace them and treat them like the humble escapes they can be. I personally love my new lifestyle of spending more time at home and all of the warm cozy feelings that go along with being at home, including endorphin-producing bonding opportunities with pets (who seem to enjoy this newfound abundance of company and time together just as much, if not more, then we do).

A positive effect of the quarantine is a healthier and more sustainable environment, at least for now while many continue working from home and generally staying put more than usual. This certainly makes a good case for virtual voyages rather than contributing to pollution with air travel and car travel.

Larsen also points out that there are other ways to travel other than exploring physical places. Reading a piece of literature can take you on a voyage to a real or imagined place. Or create your own story about whatever kind of magical place your imagination allows. These seem to be lost arts, but worth revisiting in a time like this.