Posts Tagged ‘basilica’

Up a different hill this time

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

It turns out Lyon isn’t the only place in France with an impressive basilica that sits upon a hill and overlooks the city below. Marseille’s version is the Notre-Dame de la Garde, which we set out to visit on a beautiful Saturday morning (after a healthy amount of rest, breakfast pastries and croissants, and coffee, of course). Despite being able to see the basilica from almost any point in the city, we weren’t quite sure how to get to it, so once we were in the right part of the city we simply resolved to keep walking in whatever direction continued our vertical ascent. It was a decent strategy since the basilica sits at the highest natural point in Marseille, and sure enough, it worked!

The basilica itself was beautiful, as were the views of the city (and the sea) that it afforded. It was a bit crowded for my personal church-visiting tastes, and much like the Notre-Dame de Fourvière, the amount of adorning detail covering practically every surface was nearly impossible to visually process, let alone photograph. But, I am very glad we made the trek up all the same! (Plus, I actually don’t think you’re allowed to visit Marseille without paying the basilica a visit.)

Marseille, France (Nov 13, 2010)
Marseille, France (Nov 13, 2010)
Marseille, France (Nov 13, 2010)
Marseille, France (Nov 13, 2010)
Marseille, France (Nov 13, 2010)
Marseille, France (Nov 13, 2010)
Marseille, France (Nov 13, 2010)
Marseille, France (Nov 13, 2010)
Marseille, France (Nov 13, 2010)

Photos taken in Marseille, France on November 13, 2010.

A city by the sea

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

When I was living in Tasmania, I loved that my life in Hobart centered around the sea. My apartment was more or less in the city center, and every day I would walk ten or fifteen minutes to the University of Tasmania School of Art, which had its campus in an old jam factory directly on the water. I wasn’t much of a socialite in Australia (nor anywhere, truthfully), so when I wasn’t working at school or at home, I was often meandering around the docks, staring out at the water or (when feeling less pensive) hunting seagulls with my camera. I don’t know why I liked it so much. There was something about the constant presence of the water and the quietly lapping waves that just seemed to help keep me at peace.

So, I was happy when we got to Marseille and I saw that the city (part of it, anyway) centers itself around Vieux-Port. The seaport was first settled by the Greeks in 600 BC, and the harbor has remained an important spot ever since (although it is now used only as a marina and a docking point for local boat trips). I don’t know much more about it than that (and I freely admit I pulled even that pitiful historical tidbit directly from Wikipedia), except that it is now surrounded by what seems like hundreds of restaurants. I honestly don’t even really love any of the photos I took around the water. I just wanted to take a moment and note my appreciation of this maritime quality of Marseille.

Marseille, France (Nov 12, 2010)
Marseille, France (Nov 12, 2010)
Marseille, France (Nov 13, 2010)
Marseille, France (Nov 13, 2010)
Marseille, France (Nov 13, 2010)
Marseille, France (Nov 13, 2010)

Photos taken in Marseille, France on November 12-13, 2010.

Up Fourvière one last time

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Something I loved about Lyon was the fact that no matter where you were in the city, you could almost always see the Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière looming above. No matter what we were doing, the basilica was there doing it along with us, like a giant sitting on the hillside, a quiet but prominent and persistent friend, watching us play and laughing at our thoroughly un-French antics. (I admit that this illustration may be somewhat influenced by the fact that I am currently reading The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis.)

Lyon, France (Sep 18, 2010)

Photo taken in Lyon, France on September 18, 2010.

So, unsurprisingly, the basilica and the hill upon which it sits was something of a centerpiece of my Lyonnaise life. Due to its general impressiveness and historical and visual allure, as well as my silhouette-inspired interest in the lookout, I visited Fourviere more than any other place in the city. Sadly, since I needed to leave France sometime, there had to be a last trip up the hill for me! Happily though, I was accompanied that last time by Catie and her sister Emma, and the weather we were given was absolutely perfect. We even had a clear view of the alps from the top! (I had practically forgotten those even existed anywhere close to Lyon.)

Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)

Photo taken in Lyon, France on November 11, 2010.

There isn’t much here in Minnesota (where once again I presently temporarily reside) that could now fill the basilica-shaped hole in my life… The IDS Tower? The Mall of America? The Target Center? (I should quit my mocking for a moment and acknowledge that there is the somewhat impressive Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis, but it is definitely not a part of my everyday life like the Notre-Dame de Fourvière was. For one thing, I can not walk thirty yards out my front door in Plymouth and see Saint Mary’s!) I will miss my giant French friend, but for now, when I look up I can be satisfied with the beauty of the snow falling from the cold dark Midwestern sky.

Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 11, 2010)

Photos taken in Lyon, France on November 11, 2010.

Silhouettes, lookouts, and a few regular photos to boot

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Since I arrived in Lyon a couple of months ago, I have picked up my old “Place in Silhouette” project that I began a few years ago while I was in a drawing class at Sarah Lawrence College. (You can see the two compositions I made at SLC here and here as well as the one I did in Hobart, Tasmania.) The idea of the project is to create a landscape of a place by (photographically) capturing its relevant or recurring (or just plain interesting) shapes, making silhouettes of those shapes (in a very low-tech laborious fashion in Photoshop – using none other than the “Legacy” Brightness/Contrast tool), and then compositing those shapes together to create a landscape that is abstract but hopefully still captures some essence of the original place.

So, I have been spending some time walking around Lyon on my own trying to gather as many shapes as I can before I have to leave. One part of the city that I have decided to possibly feature is the Fourvière Lookout. On the North side of the Basilica at the top of Fourvière Hill, there is a large lookout area that provides one of the best sweeping views of Lyon. Everyone who visits the Cathedral invariably makes their way outside to look down and usually take a few photos of the city below. (I would love to do a study of how many pictures are taken from that spot over the course of a single day, and I would love even more to somehow gather everyone’s digital images – perhaps over the course of a week – and composite them together to create an extremely detailed panorama of the city… Maybe someday, when wireless camera/computer communication is a bit easier and more ubiquitous.)

Ever since my “Art, Natural Environment and Technology” course at the University Tasmania, I have had a fascination with that sort of ‘scenic overlook’. I might also call such spots ‘visual sinkholes’. I don’t necessarily mean to convey scorn with that term; I just find it interesting how fascinated people are by wide views from high vantage points. Perhaps it is just because that scene is rare in our visual lives, or maybe it is something more intricately primal or psychological. In any case, I enjoy watching the mobs of people lean over the stone barrier. I wonder how much they are really in awe of the view, and how much they are just doing what people are expected to do and looking at what people are supposed to want to look at. (I also wonder how much time people will actually spend looking at the wide angle photo they take from that vantage point. My guess is that it will be forgotten fairly quickly…) I don’t mean to sound like a visual elitist, pitying the poor masses. I just cannot shake the feeling that a lot of inner dialogues at that spot are somewhere along the lines of, “Hmm… Pretty. Oh, there is that thing we saw. We really are high up… How long should we stand here?”

Well, somewhere in the midst of my self-satisfied chuckling, I noticed that the silhouette of such groups of people at the lookout could be compelling, so I decided to start capturing people (sneakily and stealthily, and hopefully not too creepily) as they gazed on. I’ve made it back to do so three times in the last week so far, and I’m excited about the potential.

Group silhouette at Fourviere Lookout (Nov 1, 2010)

Group silhouette at Fourviere Lookout captured on November 1, 2010.

While I have been scouring Lyon for shapes and repeatedly walking up and down Fourvière Hill (or funicularing up and down when I am lazy in a hurry), I have taken a few general photos as well. Visiting the lookout so often is a good excuse to regularly duck into the Basilica (which continues to my photographic nemesis) and stop by other nearby spots as well, such as the Cimetière de Loyasse. There is no shortage of photographic material in Lyon!

Lyon, France (Oct 29, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 29, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 29, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 29, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)

Photos taken in Lyon, France between October 29 and November 1, 2010.