Philippe De Jonckheere,
untitled from the graves series, East of France, silver gelatin
print, 4X5 inches, 1994.
... ( ... ) ... When Barbara
and I came back from our trip to Basel in Switzerland, we left at the
end of the afternoon and we still had to drive back to Paris where Barbara
had to catch an early plane the next morning.
We stopped at a cemetary, a storm was about to drench us, the clouds were
looming on the dark horizon, the light was indeed dramatic, I thought
it would be perfect for taking some picture of graves,
series I had pending.
Then as we drove again, I realized that we were passing by Notre
Dame de Ronchamp, built by Le Corbusier and even though
I have little taste for Le Corbusier we stopped, it had just rained
and it was already late, the place was deserted, we had the entire chapel
to ourselves. We did spend an entire hour there.
We finally drove off as it was getting dark
We drove on a road bordered by little hills, Barbara saw a church at a
top of the hills that she wanted to see. We tried to get near it, but
didn't manage to, since we ended up on a dirt road that was pretty steep
that didn't seem to go anywhere. As I got out of the car to study what
my chances were to make a U-Turn on the spot, Barbara had already gotten
herself and her polaroid camera out of the car and sure enough she was
shooting pictures of the cows and the flowers in the field that were facing.
I think she saw that I thought that she was naughty so she handed me the
camera, as one would pass around a joint litterally, and I too started
to take pictures, then gave the camera back to Barbara, the camera passed
from hands to hands, we could barely see what we were doing but the flash
was there to record everything. Towards the end of this unexpected shooting
session, Barbara wanted to make sure that we had taken enough pictures
so she asked me to turn the car headlights on and there we were, arranging
pictures in pairs, triplets, quadruples and streamers in the blinding
headlights of the car, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. We did shoot
a couple more pictures that we thought were missing, and after this I
did manage to convince Barbara that it was time for us to hit the road.
As we were driving, Barbara was still playing and shuffling through the
images and stated that this was great, it would give her someything to
do on the plane back to Chicago the next day. After that, she finally
fell asleep. We arrived late
in Paris and it was almost time to drive to the airport
in order to avoid the nightmare of morning traffic. I dropped Barbara
at the airport, drove back
home, collapsed and woke up just in time to start my grave
When hanging out with Barbara, always wear a watch.