A rainy, dull Sunday morning. That is the best time to go to Père Lachaise cemetery. I had shot all my colour films and only had my little wee Yashica – Baby in my pocket. She can always be relied on to distill the moment whatever and wherever, and so she did beautifully the sombre, grey, melancholic air here. The draw of this place for me is not the graves of the famous, rather it is in the show of appreciation, gifts and little tributes left by the people for the creators, bringers of art, light and beauty into our lives. How they have touched us deeply and personally and how we have responded to them and their passing.
It’s a funny place to try and navigate and like a strange, mournful village. The French want to see Edith Piaf, everyone else wants Jim Morrison. I know because I was asked several times in various accents and languages if I knew where he was. It’s been railed off from his fans but the adjacent tree was interesting, bamboo fencing is covered in chewing gum, tributes, metro tickets and handwritten messages.
This is the end, beautiful friend.
As for Oscar Wilde, the scores of red lipstick kisses and graffiti on the Jacob Epstein sculpture have made a glass wall necessary. Now covered in red lipstick kisses.
Some just too poignant for words. Roses and notes and paintings popped into plastic for an artist and his lover who died nearly 100 years ago, his work and their story still moving us today. I may have gulped a lump quite a bit here.
It was only just last November but it seems such a long time ago. Paris has since been scarred by unimaginable horror.
Yashica 35ME/Ilford FP4