I'd forgotten all about these, a bunch of balloon pics taken in the unorthodox but pleasant Parc André Citroën in the west of Paris, in my arrondissement, the 15th, as it happens.
I was with an American friend of mine, whose French husband, little did I know it at the time, was about to tell her that he didn't want to be with her any more, which was a shame for their beautiful 5 year-old they had tried so hard for, but mine is not to judge, just to observe and listen.
And there's another funny story... on my return from Greece, on midsummer's day, 2003, I looked around for a place to live and eventually ended up, with a little help from my friends, in the pocket-sized apartment where I am now, and with which you might be slightly familiar, the view from the window, at least.
So there I was, coming out of my building, and walking along my street, when I saw a sweet family coming towards me, looking strangely familiar, a little lady, a stocky guy and the cutest curly blond-haired girl...
I thought they were in the States. They thought I was in Greece. Imagine our surprise...!!!
But that's not what this posting is about. No. This posting is about serious stuff. The stuff dreams are made of. The stuff of... balloons.
In the aforementioned parc André Citroën there lives a balloon, and with my American friends I took a few shots, and I now acknowledge her patience, as there's not many more irritating things on earth than going for a walk with a photographer...
So I thought I'd share with you a few of my balloon shots, just to give you an idea of what I saw. It's a great subject - this enormous, incongruous great blob sat in the middle of an ironing board flat lawn, taking people 'high' for about ten minutes to float over a little part of Paris with what must be a pretty spectactular view nevertheless.
The park itself is very unusual, with lots of little secret places to discover around the edges and a lot of inventiveness has been involved. I'll do a piece on it sometime. But not now. Today is balloon day! And it just happens that right next to the park is this amazing mirror building full of angles and sharp turns, and love or loathe modern architecture, you have to admit it's impressive. I like the purety of the forms. I love the canvas it provides for the balloon. I have a love-hate relationship with the possibilities it gives me for cropping and reframing - it frustrates and delights me in equal measure, from an artistic point of view.
And as if you needed a reminder, check out what the French do with trees one more time, and weep! These poor specimens are perfect cylinders, but PERFECT cylinders and it just makes you reflect about man's imperious dominance of nature and everything that flies in her. Or sinks inexorably to the ground as all balloons and jowls and cylindrical trees and dreams must, one day.
I like the last shot. Nature encroaching on man's chilly illusions. Haphazard shoots and fronds seem to make quaver even the steely resolve of all those gleaming panes, so the balloon starts to waver and lose its resolve, and desolve, drawn back to the cauldron from whence it sprung. Gravity will overcome. But in the meantime, dream on!
© Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2005