The poignancy of this photo, which struck me as much more powerful than another shot I had of the same lady delving elbow-deep into one of the rubbish bins on the right, is that she is just standing there. There's no reason for her to have halted, no-one called her name, nothing is blocking her path, the empty bench doesn't seem to interest her... she.. just.. stopped.
The nowhere-to-go syndrome, as regular readers of this blog will know, is one of the saddest aspects of this famously romantic city. The yellow litter bag is a recent addition to the city's streets, designed for recycling items such as cans, plastic bottles and cardboard. Unfortunately there isn't a third colour for rescuing used-up lives. But I reckon it would be purple...
'Tati' is a big store in one of the poorest areas of the city famous for the cheapest clothes in town. Its big strong bags are also a favourite among the down-and-outs due to their near indestructibility.
The left-hand edge of the shot serves as a metaphor for the invisible gap between her and the world of the wealthy and homeful, while the grim green and yellow reality of her scavenging life silently awaits her shuffling return.
© 2007 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free
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