Memographs, not photographs: France, Day 3

La Tour Saint-Nicholas in La RochelleThe 3rd batch of my photos from France.

I’ve been carrying my camera with me everywhere since I arrived. It’s actually a practice that started for me a long time ago, long before I even knew that I might go to France.

It began with my cell phone.

My previous camera was a 3MP clunker. About a decade old, very fussy, limited capabilities, drained batteries like a vampire. It fit in my pocket, but only if nothing else was in my pocket, and I didn’t mind looking like I was carrying a sausage or a brick in my pocket.

I got my new cell phone a  couple of years ago. This phone replaced my aging black-and-grey-display phone, the other brick that I used to carry around. I happily replaced it, as I felt I needed something for travel and my other phone, while amazing durable, had outlasted its form factor.

(One of the contemporary conundrums with technological innovation and gadgetry is a reversal of principles a century of industrialization and many centuries of practical poverty: things that are “built to last” are antithetical to the continual and rapid churn of technological progress. We need to change so that we are not considering “built to last” as the proper motto for the production of gadgets; rather, “built to recycle” should be branded into the electronics manufacturers’ collective forebrains — or we will bury ourselves in dead-ended, obsoleted, precious-metal-carrying devices.)

My new phone contained a camera. Not a great one, a 1.5MP camera — a step down from my actual camera, but the convenience of having it easily pocketable and easily useable with little power use made it remarkably more valuable. And digital memory allows experimentation on a level I always feared back in the days of my 35mm cameras, so combined with ease of transport and now we have opportunities to take photographs all the time, to capture the fleeting moments my softening brain seems to easily forget.

My latest purchase, made a month before my trip to France, is a new camera. Nothing fancy, relatively cheap, an Olympus T-100 12MP camera. But it has a wonderfully small size, takes good pictures with plenty of tinkerable options to get that “right” shot, works quickly, has long battery life..

So, my time here has been marked by pulling out the camera often, taking many shots. In part, this is due to the “newness” of everything, something I can already feel is passing a bit. In part, however, it is this renewed interest in not forgetting things, the cascading avalanche of guilt and regret from having let so many moments of my past go undocumented.

So, here is the third batch of photographs (up on Flickr), somewhat more than the 10% of taken photographs of previous installments, but still only a select, minor portion of shots. This time, its my first walk through downtown La Rochelle, or at least the oldest part of La Rochelle: Vieux Port. My view of it before had been busy and exhausted, so it was nice to see it in a more easy pace. Since then, I’ve visited the area many times, and continue to find new things, new angles and new lights to photograph.

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