Friday, May 11, 2007

Bags of Time


From the Madness song 'One Better Day' I was reminded of these lyrics when I took this picture:
"Further down, a photo booth, a million plastic bags
And an old woman filling out a million baggage tags
But when she gets thrown out, three bags at a time
She spies the old chap in the road to share her bags with
She has bags of time..."

Unfortunately, Paris is really this picture as much as the Eiffel Tower and the Champs Elysees. There are lots of people on the streets and this example is as poignant as any. Although I've severely cropped it to concentrate on the hands giving and receiving, this woman is literally floating on a veritable sea of plastic bags. What you see here is just the beginning and you can only imagine what they all might contain or represent.
A friend recently explained to me that the concept of 'ownership' is fundamental, and vital to our sense of being a 'being', and that all those plastic bags filled with god-only-knows what were an essential part of this person's hanging together...
What reduces people to this point is a question we can ask ourselves every time we witness such scenes. There are so many hands extended, so many scraps of paper placed on complacent knees in metros proclaiming extended families to support and war wounds to suffer, we, poor average commuting citizens hardly know where to turn.
We give when we can, cultivate studied indifference when we can't but underneath it all we do hurt when we see such poverty in such a rich capital, and some of us know we're not so far from those million plastic bags, give or take the odd slip or false step...

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great great shot over the last few weeks , keep them coming ...

==Alaska

Paris Set Me Free said...

Hey, how are you Alaska - thanks for popping in - nice to hear from you. Take care, Sab

Tomate Farcie said...

"We give when we can, cultivate studied indifference when we can't but underneath it all we do hurt when we see such poverty in such a rich capital, and some of us know we're not so far from those million plastic bags, give or take the odd slip or false step..."

Incredibly well put.

Paris Set Me Free said...

I'm far from the first to have tried to describe poverty, either through words or photographically. But you see a lot of it in the capital and sometimes you have a duty not to turn a blind eye and to try and show all sides of this so-called glamorous city.

Tomate Farcie said...

I agree.

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