All That Loveliness

Years ago, I was a nanny in a picturesque village and vineyard-dotted valley in Germany. It was overpowering, all that loveliness. But the awe it inspired didn't last. After only a few months I was back to photographing rust, peeling paint, garbage.

I'm fascinated by the unexpected beauty of these abject things. This facade in Clemenceau for example:

Those worn-through layers of paint! It's like a modernist canvas. Situated on this background is a grid of windows, each one unique. The glass is broken or not, shutters open or closed. Their mismatched colors punctuate the grid, breaking up the image and giving it greater interest. All this variation is complemented by the uniform darkness framed by each window opening.

I know (because it has happened before) that I'll eventually get sick of this aesthetic. I'll get to a point where I've had my fill of peeling paint and broken shutters. I'll wish for the crisp, freshly painted and clean-swept vistas that were quite unavoidable in Germany. I won't have to go to Germany to get it though. Beirut's got that kind of pretty too, and when I'm ready for it, it'll be there waiting for me.


  1. I'd be so tempted to jump in the 1st floor window and explore with my flashlight . . .

  2. Intriguing image and blog entry. I agree with you sometimes the aesthetic of these worn out structures just captures the imagination and you feel compelled to explore. Although creativity will eventually push you to new venues, this one will undoubtedly call you back again.

  3. Oh good. What you say here gives me hope.

    Best wishes from down south.

  4. Dina, wow, we're nearly neighbors--not too many CDP blogs from around here. Thanks for commenting!

  5. Hi Mary Ann, yes, only 145 miles, but ...

    I am glad (relieved) that you welcome me here.
    Really, why is it that our corner of the world is under-represented at CDP?

  6. I don't know why, though in general, it seems that most things take longer here. Maybe we're starting a new trend. :)

  7. Indeed, I hope the two of you are starting a new trend.

    This is such a reflective post, Mary Ann. I agree totally with it. As well as the abject vs the pristine, there is also the detail vs the landscape. Abject excells closeup whereas pristine needs the longer view, IMO.