Friday, December 3, 2010

Black Cat Blues . . .

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Am going to return to Père Lachaise Cemetery again here, hope these graveyard blues won't get too old for you all, but it is such an amazingly rich and fertile ground for photographers. One cannot help but notice all the visible photography gear people are carrying in there on any given day, and understandably so. In any case, with James, of Weekend Reflections, I was wandering in Père Lachaise of an October Sunday afternoon, when James saw this black cat sitting on a grave. We both took turns doing portraits of it, as it studiously ignored us. I was especially taken with the reflection it was casting on the grey marble stone, wet with the rain that had been falling.
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A moment later I spotted the same cat crossing our path ahead, and so I turned aside so as not to be cursed with bad luck, as it hadn't actually crossed my path, given that my path had taken a new direction... or was it too late for that ? But what am I saying, I'm not the superstitious type at all. Well, not often. Are you ?
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Just when I thought I'd lost him, and could proceed in peace, he popped out from behind a stone, and looked reproachfully at me. You can see by his green eyes that he's the same one as the one we caught sitting on that tombstone. Life is strange sometimes !
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And somehow, he even found his way into this video ! ! ! He really gets around !
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53 comments:

Le Journal de Chrys said...

Mon chat est aussi blanc que ce chat est noir!!!!!! Mais je ne suis pas superstitieuse...

Stickup Artist said...

I am struck by all the wonderful textures and tones as well as that beguiling cat, showing up in different forms in different places along your path through this amazing historical site. I am not superstitious, but I don't quite believe in coincidences either! I could never get tired of viewing your wonderful images and impressions of this uniquely beautiful cemetery!

Eleonora said...

Beautiful.

You manage to find (and capture) mystery, poetry and beauty even in graveyards, Owen. That's what I call gifted.

Meeeow.

mythopolis said...

In that the black cat crossed your path, I hope you will be very careful for the next few days! The cat in the video is without a doubt, demonic!

Steve said...

I always think, given a cat's haughty demeanour, to have one actually take note of you denotes some high virtue indeed...

pRiyA said...

I love Cats and I especially love Black Cats. Am simply loving your graveyard posts, as much as you are enjoying clicking them. More!
:):):)

ps: Look what this post has made me do. I said love(uncharacteristically) 3 times in this comment. One for each of your photos of the cat I think.

Dedene said...

I'm not superstitious at all, but the black cat goes well with the surroundings.
I love cimetaries, especially in Europe.

...louciao... said...

The peekaboo cat picture is adorable. I think I'd quickly go mental (more mental) in that cemetery with all those great textures to capture digitally; let alone the tempting shots one could get of tombs and "wildlife" (lipsticked, green-eyed, web-footed, camera-toting or otherwise).

TheChieftess said...

I love this!!! The photo story...the Buddy Guy song...

But then, I'm a sucker for black cats!!!

Olga said...

With this post you have created a little art nuveau novel.

ρομπερτ said...

Bringing to life, the magic of your site. Chapeau !


Please have you all a good Saturday.

daily athens

Margaret Pangert said...

Wow! That was amazing! How eery that your story was exactly the same as Black Cat Blues! All that is left for you to do is go back to Pere Lachaise, get down on one knee, and pray, brother! I was transfixed by that cat's color-changing eyes...and how on earth did the video end with the cat's eyes back to the teal blue of the cats (real and statuary) that you saw. Is this the paranormal short story genre?

Oakland Daily Photo said...

Especially like the last photo. The cat is looking at you like, "Are you still here?"

Sylvia K said...

I can only repeat what Eleonara has written - and you do indeed manage to capture mystery, poetry and beauty even in graveyards!! That is talent and you do have that, Owen! Have a terrific weekend!

Sylvia

Owen said...

Bonjour Chrys ! Pas besoin d'être superstitieuse, car avec un chat d'un blanc éclatant, sans doute tu as tellement de bonne chance en permanance, qu'un chat noir qui traversera ton chemin ne pourrait avoir la moindre incidence... C'est une bonne idée ça, un chat blanc comme source de chance... nous, nous avons deux chats tigrés, et la seule chose qu'elles nous amenent... ce sont des puces !!!

Bon, si, quand même, elle nous amenent bcp d'amour féline... si l'on peut appeler cela l'amour !
:-)

Owen said...

Dear Stickup, I have not the least shadow of a doubt that you would just have a simply fabulous time in Père Lachaise... once you got in we might not be able to get you to come back out. (That is true for many of its longer term residents, but less true for the living who venture in there)
:-)
In any case, it is a paradise, literally for photographers, and people appreciative of textures and tones and history... as well as being a figurative paradise for many famous people interred there...

Owen said...

Lola, I'm tickled pink ! That "meeow" just bowled me over...
:-)
And I'm starving too now, after having seen your salsa alle noci !
:-(

Owen said...

Mythmania,
Well, the cat came near my path back in October, so I guess I can start to relax a little now... And I already had my big dose of bad luck from that encounter perhaps when a truck backed into my parked car a little while back there... I didn't make the association at the time, but that must be the causal relation, right ?
:-)

Owen said...

Steve,
Cats don't actually take note of anybody, they just look right through you, to see whether there is anything to eat behind you... and they are just annoyed that you are obscuring their field of view. Now, please get back to disseminating more leaks. Or should I say inseminating ? Now I'm off to take a leak, or leave one... What the hell is a "Wiki" anyway ? Is that what's left after the candle burns down ?

Owen said...

Ah, Priya ! Could it be love at first meeoow ?
:-)

Just don't forget what Bob Dylan said... Love is just a four letter word...

Alberto Oliver said...

Well, anything could be possible in such a place, even that an statue may come to life and watch the intruders and judging their real intentions hehe.
And after having realized that it was just another couple of clueless photographers looking for some magic, well, the cat or may we call him the watcher?? =) =) came back to his place, and continued with his eternal task, of watching after the souls, memories and secrets the graveyard keeps.
Supertitious,,me?? well, just dont ask me when at the middle of the night in a creepy place, or while wandering in Père Lachaise =) =)

Antonette said...

LOVE the black cat! Poor black kitties get a bad rap especially around Halloween. I think black cats are stunning. Great shots~

Nevine said...

This is such a sweet post, Owen. Cemeteries... and black cats. What a combination, as only Owen can do it! And I don't think that's reproach that I'm seeing in that little fellow's eyes... but rather, fascination! And maybe a little sprinkling of ego... I mean, who wouldn't want to pose for you? ;-)

Nevine

'Tsuki said...

I just love cemetaries... I especially love the new ones in France, usually called "cimetières paysagers", they are such nice place to walk... And they are still a reflection of life.

To come back to the subject, I carafully read your comment, and looked at your picture : it is amazing you had such a guide for your walk in the Pere Lachaise cemetery... Lucky you !

I am superstitious, but I'm not when it comes to cats, black or not. I love those furry little things...

Your first shot is really beautiful, with this naive pottery...

James said...

Another excellent post! I didn't think you had a chance when you started chasing that cat. :) I love the picture of him peeking around the corner.

Cildemer said...

Tu nous a fait tout un chat pitre de cette belle promenade!
Je suis plutôt superstitieuse et je n'affectionne pas particulièrement me promener parmi les morts!
Je préfère de loin les vivants. Ils ont beaucoup plus de choses à nous raconter;o)

***Belle fin de semaine, Owen****

Jilly said...

As far as I'm concerned you can photograph Pee Lachaise for ever. I love your beautiful shots of this magical place. Corny word, but it seems so to me.

Roxana said...

no, Owen, how on earth can you imagine we could ever get tired of this wonderful documentary of Pere Lachaise? especially in autumn, the mood has such indescribable melancholy...
i loved the counterpoint unreal-real cat, but more than that, i loved the cat's reflection, which adds a third, somewhat fantastic dimension to this very witty play of dichotomies...

Owen said...

Hi Dedene, I'm with you... there is something about cemeteries here in France that just seems worlds apart from graveyards in the US. Not that there aren't some beautiful ones there too, but there is a difference in mood, a difference in art that is palpable...

Owen said...

Dear Lynne, I think it's a moot point... you already have... but we wouldn't have you any other way...
:-)

But yes, I think you really need to get organized (what a strange word that is, it just hit me, what on earth does "get organ-ized" mean, and where does it come from??? We have organs, and getting organized means what???) anyway, yes, where was I, get organized, and come over here for a month or three, you would have a field day exploring Paris and the rest of France. Maybe a month or three isn't enough ? And yes, the web-footed wildlife around ponds here can be unusual...

Owen said...

Hi Chieftess... I think black cats bring out the inner panther in us all, we see ourselves stretched out on tree limbs in some remote jungle, contemplating our next hunt and meal...
:-)
Glad you like the Buddy Guy piece, found that one by chance, just typing "Black Cat" into YouTube's search bar... YouTube rarely disappoints...

Owen said...

Hi Olga, that's what I love about Paris, it is full of little art nouveau worlds... it's not so much a question of creating them, as it is of stumbling on them, falling into them, finding oneself nose to nose with them...

Owen said...

Tag Robert ! Yes, sort of like Dr Frankenstein... I didn't mention that I had my portable animation kit in my backpack, which when hooked up to the black cat in pottery was very efficient in breathing life into it !
;-)

Owen said...

Margaret, As mentioned just above to Chieftess, I found the video by chance, just before I published the post, and was indeed struck by how perfectly it seemed to fit in with the photos and cemetery setting...

So for sure, I'll be back there, getting down on one knee, to pray to the deities of serendipity that many more such mini-miracles will continue to spring up like toadstools along the paths my footsteps may follow...
:-)
Yes, I think I prefer simple serendipity to any paranormal explanations, but then the two are not far apart in our minds I guess...

Owen said...

Oakland,
Yes indeed, I was her(his?) worst nightmare that day for a few moments, a cat papparazzi bothering her, tailing her, popping out of blind alleys with camera snapping... But then, when a black cat takes up residence in one of the most famous cemeteries in the world, I guess she knows that catarazzi photographers are part of the deal... I suppose next time I'll have to take some smoked salmon or something as a peace offering ?
:-)

Owen said...

Hi Sylvia; thank you so very much ! I get called a lot of things, but "talented" is rarely one of them... but if you are finding a moment of pleasure here with these black-catty goings on, then I am happy !

Owen said...

Alberto !
So what on earth are you doing wandering around Père Lachaise in the middle of the night ??? Well, whatever, if I do run into you there in the dark, I promise not to ask you any questions about superstition !
:-}

And yes, yes, yes, we must always be alert in life to recognizing ALL the possibilities inherent in any situation, including that of sculpted cats coming to life... it seemed so evident to me that the two cats were one and the same, it didn't even cross my mind that they might not be. We had just seen the sculpture, and then off it went running, so I snuck quietly off down a side path, and surprised her a little farther off in the labyrinth of tombstones...

Anyway, I'm sure the watcher is back at her customary place, watching and waiting for new visitors to mystify with her feline fantasies...
:-)

Owen said...

Antonette, Hi, you are so right, black cats have gotten a bad rap for far too long... all year long, not just Halloween.

Maybe we should start a little internet rumour to the effect that someone in Paris had the most amazing stroke of good luck just after a black cat had crossed his/her path... ?

Like, a black cat crossed my path, and then I won the lottery ! Well, the first part has come true, now just need the second part to happen... it's bound to, right ?
:-)

And once the word gets out, the cat breeders won't be able to turn out black cats fast enough to meet the new demand for them...
:-)

Owen said...

Nevine !
Yes, you, oh most perceptive one (no doubt due to your mysterious egyptian origins where your ancestors frolicked with sphinxes and carved a multitude of cat sculptures in reverence for feline deities...) are surely able to read into a cat's expression and soul far more accurately than I, a lowly toad, and what I took for reproach, yes, is surely fascination and fondness and a longing for attention in front of a camera's lens... yes, I think you must be quite right...

So, may I take that little iconic wink after the "who wouldn't want to pose for you?" to mean that if you were ever here in Paris you might also wish to find yourself in front of the same lens, with stunning backdrops around the City of Light ? Say yes, say yes, say yes ! Hubby may come along as chaperone too... We'll do some portraits and see if we can't get one on the next cover of Paris in Poetry, or Cosmopolitain, whatever suits your fancy...
:-)

Owen said...

Hi 'Tsuki, cemeteries in France, old and newer, always seem to be fascinating places to walk for me... and I don't see them as morbid places at all, but rather as places that evoke all sorts of poetry and history, respect for those who have passed before us... They remind us gently too that life will not last forever, we must enjoy this brief glowing spark while we can, for the time we will spend in a cemetery one day will be far far longer than this short, ever so short moment of dreaming, living...

Owen said...

Ah James, one rarely has a chance when chasing cats, but if one is furtive (fur-tive) and quick, with a fast shutter speed on the cannon, one has a very slim chance of shooting one, and bringing home the trophy... He only peeked from around that corner for a brief moment, before running off and disappearing...

TheChieftess said...

I like your thinking Owen...reframing the black cat rumor to a good luck omen...I think it's doable!!!

Owen said...

Hi Cildemer,
Bien trouvé, le chat pitre, bien que chapitre va peut-être mieux, car les chats ne sont jamais pitres, les chats sont de loin trop sérieux pour être pitres, même dans leurs attitudes et comportements les plus joueurs...
:-)
Et se promener avec des vivants parmi les morts est peut-être le meilleurs des deux mondes, dans ce meilleurs des mondes possibles, ce bas monde... Et parfois la compagnie des morts est bien paisible aussi... et revenir vers la chaleur des vivants après est un grand confort...
Merci bcp ! La fin de semaine au boulot était rude, donc je n'émerge que ce dimanche soir pour faire un tour parmi les vivants ici...
:-)

Owen said...

Jilly ! Forever ? That's a long time... but if you are enjoying these Père Lachaise photos, then I am smiling, and there are a few more yet to come to these pages from that lovely place, so stay tuned...

Oh, and on the contrary, "magical" never seemed to me to be a corny word, for there is magic all around us, if we only can learn to be receptive to her secrets...
:-)

Owen said...

Roxana !
There you are, and shining as always...

Indeed, dichotomies, or even tri-chotomies, or perhaps we could even speak of dicatomies ?
:-)
Sorry, I shouldn't massacre language like that, but sometimes a cat gets my tongue, and instead of making me silent, makes me silly...

Melancholy is the perfect word, and not in a negative sense at all... Père Lachaise is deeply steeped in magnificent melancholy, the profound history of France is sleeping there, just waiting for some curious soul to come along and look, and question, and wonder...

And I know that you would find a multitude of sources of fascination there, for you look at the world around you on such a number of levels, seeing relations and links and ladders to ever higher or deeper levels of meaning, yes, you have a magic bridge, floating, to help you travel those levels, this is abundantly clear in everything you do and say...
:-)
Be well, be warm, in these early days of winter already upon us...

Nevine said...

He he he... Owen. You've made me grin... from ear to ear... and laugh inside my heart. Of course I will pose... though I can't imagine what in the world Cosmopolitan would want with me... except maybe they might be interested because of the huge talent who captured the shot. But... I will pose... nevertheless. Your lens is one of my absolute faves... and my faves are few. ;-)

Hope you're enjoying your Sunday evening, Owen!

Nevine

The Sagittarian said...

Whats up, champ, couldn't find Black Cat Bone?

Owen said...

Dear Nevine,
Noted, all of Paris is waiting for you...
:-)

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Saj !
Where on earth have you been ? Actually, I sort of liked Buddy Guy's tune here, thought it was more fitting with its cemetery references, even though Albert Collins ain't half bad. Speaking of Albert Collins, this one is alright...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUxx3mdbndk&feature=related

...louciao... said...

Perhaps I could get a job as an organ grinder to pay my way. Now all I need is a monkey. Or maybe I could use a toad instead. I think I could fashion a little toad cap and jacket for him...

The Sagittarian said...

Loved that link, thanks Bro. I am sure we could get up on that Lilly Pad of yours and sing our wee hearts out, "Oh I got the greens reaaal baaaad"

Springman said...

"For months I could not rid myself of the phantasm of the cat; and, during this period, there came back into my spirit a half-sentiment that seemed, but was not, remorse. I went so far as to regret the loss of the animal, and to look about me, among the vile haunts which I now habitually frequented, for another pet of the same species, and of somewhat similar appearance, with which to supply its place."

Edgar Allan Poe
from "The Black Cat"


If Poe stalks the "vile haunts" pursuing the shadowy beast in a manner reminiscent of your own then I think, for your own best interest, it would be wise to abandon this struggle!
A Friend

Owen said...

Lynnzi, it would be an honor to work in your circus !!!

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Saj, you got it, greens alright, green like in Margarita green, eh ?
:-)

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Springman, Friend,
I am taking of my hat, and sweeping it theatrically low towards the floor whilst tossing back my cape to bow deeply in honor and with the greatest respect for this highly, indeed, profoundly, literary message here... Indeed, indeed, I did not do my homework near thoroughly enough when preparing this post, and you do well, astonishingly well to remind me of Poe's fine work... Definitely, a reference to Poe is quite fitting here right on the heels of the post about Oscar Wilde... they both finished their lives in more or less of an alcoholic blur, in poverty. One day I will have to make the pilgrimage to Poe's tomb in Baltimore...

In the meanwhile, I can only salute you kind Springman, for this lofty effort of yours... Man has indeed come a long, long way, from his Neanderthal and Cro Magnon origins...
:-)

Mouse said...

Fantastic colors and textures. And what an interesting chance encounter!