At the End of a Hallway
"The hallway of every man's life is paced with pictures;
pictures gay and pictures gloomy, all useful,
for if we be wise, we can learn from them
a richer and braver way to live."
- Sean O'Casey
A few weeks ago, I sent out my first Temple Newsletter. One of the recurring themes will be a feature about one of my Paris photographs, accompanied by an explanation of where the photo was taken and the story behind it. My first "Featured Photo" is one of my favorite: 'At the End of a Hallway,' taken at the Musee d'Orsay (2009).
Musee d'Orsay - view from Jardin des Tuileries
The Musee d'Orsay has long been one of my special places to visit in Paris (for a little more backstory, see here). More intimate, but no less grand, than the nearby Le Louvre, d'Orsay's salons, hallways and cafes feel cozy and close. Hushed and serene, but not stuffy or snobby, I've spent many a long afternoon just...wandering. Many times, I forget to take pictures - I'm too busy taking it all in, being in the moment. But from the first time I went through the main entrance's revolving door (1983) until this moment, one aspect of this museum has fascinated me - the clocks.
Of course, the museum is best known for its extensive collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings (especially Monet and Degas). But it was originally a train station. The musee is perhaps as famous for the two humongous black clocks (on the outside of the building) and the massive gold clock in the main gallery (above) - c'est magnifique!
The inside of one of the exterior black clocks forms one of the walls of the museum's small informal cafe. The room is beautiful. I hate to say this but the food in this cafe est horribles, assez tragique! But you have to take a book, grab one of the tiny tables in front of the clock and people watch to your heart's content - just be sure to eat before you go and only order coffee, tea, beer or wine - and maybe un plateau de fromages.
One of the black clocks is accessible via a metal bridge/walkway/hallway - very architectural and gorgeous. These 'hallways' were open to the public. People would wait in line for the chance to have their picture taken in front of the clock-faces. When I returned in 2009 the hallway was roped off; I don't know why. And I was so looking forward to extensively photographing the clock with my new fangaled-official camera! Well, you know the saying: When God closes a door, He opens a window.
Because the hallway was roped off, there weren't any people standing around. I had a clear unobstructed view of the clock and all the time I wanted to photograph it, allbeit from afar. The result(s) is my series of photographs of this breathtaking architectural piece. I'm returning in May, hopefully the hallway will be open once again. Here's hoping!
Gold Clock in the main hall - Musee d'Orsay
Vivre! Rire! Aimer!
2004 - Peter's photo of me
with my rickety point-and-shoot ;-)