Impossible to visit Arles without thinking of it as a pilgrimage to the temple of conceptual photography. Herewith a sofa scene from a courtyard not far from the École Supérieur de la Photographie; also nearby, a convolvulus twines its vines up a villa, in this town this plant produces blue or white flowers and is cultivated; in the UK this is bindweed and the enemy of all gardeners. Here they honour a thing of beauty out of what would be a weed elsewhere; one could think of it as a metaphor for conceptual photography, the cause célèbre of Arles.
Out in the Camargue, the simple immensity of the Rhône delta is hard to understand, this river that brings at least a third of the water down from the Alps, the less-celebrated partner of the Rhine and the Danube. There are numerous water channels, shallow lakes frequented by wild birds, migrants and residents. Far away are the last of the mountains as Provence meets the Mediterranean.
Today, lunch with Patrice outside the Roman amphitheatre in Arles, still used for entertainments. Then a bike ride, his Voxon Café Racer and my sportsbike. Both enjoying the long straight roads with right-angle bends, that means head-down riding, then trying not to brake too late. His route visits a couple of towers over this vast flat landscape. A little round tower at St. André and the fortified, square Tour Carbonnière, its 12½ metres height commanding the surrounding delta; the first construction was about 1346 AD both a look-out for the nearby Templier citadel of Aigues Mortes and a point to extract tolls.
Great tone following the V-twin 1000cc Voxon Café Racer, Patrice knows his bike and makes it dance. Proof that a litre bike can be sporty even if it’s not an in-line four cylinder engine and also reminder of how much fun the crowd of 1200 riders are missing out on. Incidentally, Patrice turns out to have been an official at some of the Mont Ventoux Hill Climb events back in their day, that I tried to recreate last week on my own bike, see: Mont Ventoux Hill Climb
The sofa in an inner square in Arles both addresses our ideas about what should be where and also makes a series with my “after the party” photos The morning after and After the party