Since the entire planet is on lockdown during this time, most of us are lucky if we get to go anywhere other than home. While the reasons for our forced “staycation” are more than justified, if you’re anything like me (with an insatiable wanderlust), stir crazy doesn’t even begin to describe what the next few months might feel like. So I thought it might be nice if a few times a week I posted one of my photos from other corners of the globe to help ward off the Corona-blues. Our bodies may not be able to travel but our minds can go anywhere we like. Enjoy.
April 23, 2020 – Mike Fitzer
As a street photographer I have a simple rule… If everyone is looking one way, I point my camera in the opposite direction. I simply call it “looking away.” This photo is a perfect example of the “look away” rule.
It was a cloudy September day in Paris, 2004. There was a military fair taking place “Under the Eiffel Tower” (please watch our film on Netflix) so to avoid the crowds, I had spent part of the day in the Musée d’Orsay enjoying the works of world-famous artists like Mary Cassatt and Paul Cézanne as well as lesser known masters like Emile Bernard and Ferdinand Hodler.
To be honest, “part of the day” means only about 2 hours in my book. I know this is a building full of historic works of art that most people would gladly suffer physical pain to see up close but I’m just not that guy. I appreciate it and am comfortable with the fact that I can’t do it. Much like my understanding of God… I know there is one, and I’m not it. That’s about as deep as it goes for me, but I digress.
I was finished with the art, but I had already paid my admission ticket. I figured I might as well hang around the museum a little longer, so I decided to follow my own rule of looking away. I made my way up to the third floor and set my camera up in the middle of a scarcely-used catwalk. I was using an old Konika from the 1960’s given to me in the mid 90’s by a friend. I had about 8 rolls of film in my bag so I loaded the first and began bracketing. While most people were looking at the wonderful paintings and sculptures, I looked the other way to catch people passing by me in front of a large exterior-facing clock.
Let me state a widely known fact… architecture is art. It’s not like this clock was being overlooked. On the contrary, it’s a talking point for some who visit the museum however, for most it is a piece of the building that pales in comparison to the celebrated works of art populating the walls, hallways and rooms. While most people were looking at what was on the wall, I was looking at the wall. The result now hangs in private collections in England as well as many places in the US. It has been printed on something as small as a 4”x4” ChromaLuxe coaster and up to a 3’x5’ print for the wall. With more than 20 years as an on-again-off-again street photographer this is one of my favorite photographs and I am thrilled to share its story with you.