I wandered in the streets of a port, in the low quarter of some city. I wandered through the long, somber corridors in the emptiness of a deserted district: a quarter which might almost have been dead, abruptly abandoned. I was alone, subjected to the stares of mannequins seated in their tall shop windows or huddled in doorways, whose eyes seemed to ransack my very soul. They did not speak to me. They were silent. And they were all exactly alike! They might have been huge marionettes, left behind in a panic - for I divined that some plague, some frightful epidemic, had swept through the town and emptied it of its inhabitants. I was alone with these simulacra of femininity. I had already been wandering for hours without being able to find a way out of that miserable quarter, obsessed by the fixed and varnished eyes of all those automata, when I was seized by the sudden thought that all these puppets were dead women, plague-stricken and putrefied by cholera where they stood, in the solitude, beneath their plaster masks. And my entrails were liquefied by cold. In spite of that harrowing chill, I was drawn closer to a motionless girl. I saw that she was indeed wearing a mask, and the one in the next window was also masked, and all of them were horribly alike under their identical crude coloring. I was alone with the masks, with the masked corpses, when, all of a sudden, I perceived that beneath the false faces of plaster and cardboard, the eyes of these dead dolls were alive; their vitreous eyes were looking at me. In that moment I had recognized all the women in this world.
Looking into the lens I ask myself: "People spot a big black lens, and they worry about what they are doing, or how their hair looks, but nobody sees the person holding the camera." I had fallen hard for the whole gadgetry, eye-like nature of the thing. A piece of glass slowing, bending, organizing light, the film keeping the image like a secret, tucked neatly into the sleek black box. The first cameras had only inventors, buffs and enthusiasts to operate them. Since there were then no professional photographers, there couldn't be amateurs either. It was a gratuitous, that is, an artistic activity, though with few pretensions to being an art. It was only with its industrialization that photography came into its own as art. What it once took a very intelligent eye to see, anyone can see now. Recently, photography has become almost as widely practiced an amusement as sex and dancing, which means that, like every mass art form, photography is not practiced as an art. Photographers think that everything that is not photographed is lost, as if it never existed, and therefore in order to really live you must photograph as much as you can, and to photograph as much as you can you must either live in the most photographable way possible, or else consider photographable every moment of your life.
And I see all the houses of the human race perched on the edge of the sea, shipwrecked in their false neighborliness. Cold has a thousand ways of moving in the world: on the sea, it gallops like a troop of horses, on the countryside it falls like a swarm of locusts, in the cities like a knife-blade it slashes the streets and penetrates the chinks of unheated houses. Many miles away there exists a small stairway leading upwards to flats unfolding like a book; every single life is an encyclopedia, a comprehensive library, an inventory of objects, a series of styles, and everything can be constantly shuffled and reordered in every way conceivable. Each of us is the object of the other's reading, one reads in the other the unwritten story. By separating the individual human chapters, rain gutters scar over the house's facade and leading off, just like veins, the myriads of the tears not cried. There are no lighted ground-floor windows, each with a woman combing her hair, but at night, putting your ear to the ground, you can sometimes hear a door slam. And thus, when some people happen to find themselves together, meetings, seductions, copulations and orgies are consummated among them without a single word exchanged, and without a finger touching anything and almost without an eye raised.
He lifted her to heights she'd never known, now her fall from his grace finds her with vertigo. Unable to focus, the world passing in a blur, her mind spinning faster than these blackwall tires. Reeling from the whiplash of his final impact, she leans on an old friend that never looks back. The road never wavers, he shares her desire. Give and receive, a mutual fire. The more she gives he simply opens wider. There are days so breathtaking she must share them with him alone. Let him lead her to places she never dreamed she could go. Nights so lonely she's nowhere else to turn, they ride in comfortable silence, nothing but miles to burn. She always comes back to him when she needs to escape. He eagerly accepts her, never hesitates. Listens intently to her unspoken fears, wipes away each of her lingering tears. Brings her horizons painted just for her eyes and shares with her vistas words can't describe. As daylight wanes and her grip on life fades, he brings the stars into sight and she can finally breathe. Letting out a sigh of liberated relief, she lets the night air of Spring set her free. ~ Francesca
Without the sincerity of your heart you would not be able to capture this moment of my being. What you were looking for, and what you found in me, and what you see, is just the sun at dawn. Shy, I get up with the morning light, innocent and natural. At this moment there is no color to distract us, black and white, so are our souls, motionless. I'm afraid of you; afraid of waking up in a world where man desires with violence. I stay away from your desires. Shy, wild, even rebellious, do not fool yourself - my youth doesn't lack maturity. My hair covers my face as ivy covers the ruins of our ancestral ties. I am a woman. When you photograph me you immortalize our meeting, my eyes take you away from my mouth, I'd like to whisper "I love you", for I perceive the truth in your heart. I'd give everything, give my life, give up any vigilance towards you; but you still make me afraid - I do not understand your world. And I raise my shoulder to hide what I would tell you, yet I know I love you, like water flowing, like the wind that blows. But you cannot realize it; it's because of this distance that I have to put between you and me. That's why you see me shy at first but I really am! ~ Isabelle Couquiaud
The camera went insistently around the gorgeous sealed white body, examining and making notes of its deep sleep and history. Dear C. S. De Ville, you are hiding layers and layers of warm dreams and richness. Thrilled by this rare white find the camera lost track of time, to be suddenly startled by a faint movement that disturbed the morbid mossy stillness. The old beauty wearily yawned: "What a persisting warm clicking, so alien to my death." She exhaled a feeble breath: "What is this emptiness where the sun seems not to gleam by day, nor the moon by night? What is this deep sleep that fell upon me?" She quivered and lifted her eyes unto the shattered horizon on a mapping created by cracks and rust, shadows of memories fell upon her foggy windshield, the silence was broken by this movement outside her wintry coffin. The glorious white Cadillac De Ville, Sedan, four doors, Hard Top 1960, the dream of all dreamers - now just an image of herself. A whole era was ready to spring to life but her memory faded, what is left is a sad smile, which deepened the lines on her wrecked face. She felt cold and rusty but didn't bother asking who and why surrendering to the clicks that bring her back to her past golden glory and give her eternity. With despair, she sighed: "I was the aspired prize, implied under the glitter blinding those who came chasing for a richer existence. I lost it all; wealth and beauty are buried deep under this crystal white meth," completing the ongoing lamentation, "White trash? No, no, no! Winter's Bone? Yes, you could call me Winter's Bone!" ~ Shadia Alem
Independence has always been my attitude. And because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed. To do, not what is expected, but what I feel is right. I am a free woman - and I need my freedom. I need to be alone. I need to ponder my shame and my despair in seclusion; I need the sunshine and the paving stones of the streets without companions, without conversation, face to face with myself, with only the music of my heart for company. Hey, what do you want of me? Your prying curiosity turns my stomach! Your compliments humiliate me! Your tea poisons me! When I have something to give, I give it. I owe nothing to anyone. Today I am proud to say that I am inhuman, that I belong not to men and governments, that I have nothing to do with creeds and principles and rules. Nothing! I have nothing to do with the creaking machinery of humanity. I belong to the earth!
Observe, if you will, our curious cardinal upon the window sill. A more magnificent creature, impossible to find. Yet she looks out on the courtyard with lust in her eyes. What could it be that she covets so hungrily? Is she imagining passion or leaning toward envy? Fallen leaves and brick laced street create a breathtaking portrait indeed, but her eyes are drawn to classic beauty. Each fine machine commanding her attention. After all, they have turned heads for decades, no matter where they go. A form originated from their creator's own feel of a woman. Unique curves, distinctive purrs, there is nothing more thrill inducing than a moment inside such a one-of-a-kind ride. Push her to the limits and you soon will realize: the problem is not getting cool air to her rear, it is getting the hot air away from her. But our pretty bird is focused elsewhere, her soul whispering desires only her body can hear. A cloak of white silk, wrapped around elegance and light; imagining the glow beneath the sophisticated guise. Her mind drawn to the thought of ivory thighs. Blush finds her face, her chest overwhelmed with beats and she silently wishes to be seen. To be seen and received. ~ Francesca