I took eight years of French classes as a middle- and high-school student, and those courses’ textbooks inevitably had charming pictures of Parisian locales throughout. In trying to cover a wide range of French experiences, those books tended to show “everyday” life alongside the expected pictures of the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, and so I came to associate all of these images with a sort of “imaginary,” idealized Paris.
Imagine my surprise when I arrived in France and found that it looks exactly like my books.
Arriving at the one-year anniversary of the end of my sabbatical time in Berkeley, I’ve also reached the end of processing pictures that I took while I was there—though many more will be posted in the future. Our apartment was on the second flood of this build, where the screen of the same laptop on which I’m currently typing lights up the bottom-right corner of the window and the narrow slit of dark windows were over the kitchen sink where I’d cook dinner.
The North Country has rough, glacier-hewn landscapes and a culture of independence. How this area is understood and depicted is often a matter of choice on the part of the photographer. Case in point: the path of the Grasse River, on its way to the the St. Lawrence Seaway. Look at all that beautiful early-spring nature!
But cropping can deceive: if I pan the camera to the right, you see a much different image. The Grasse River travels through downtown Canton, past parking lots and apartment complexes. I think I might prefer the more honest juxtaposition.