Monday, January 31, 2011

The Wheel . . .

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Long ago in a forgotten age, man invented the wheel. Along with mastering fire, the wheel was one of the driving forces which got us where we are today. For better or worse. Will let you roll on into a new week pondering the pregnant subject of wheels and circles and cycles, and all that they imply. This one was spotted in the foothills of the French Alps. 1991.
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An abandoned form of transportation. Perhaps what was called in French a "velo-moteur". Did any of you ever ride one of these in your youth ? Quelqu'un parmi vous a déjà fait une balade sur un velo-moteur ?
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54 comments:

Gary said...

Nice :-)

Looking to the Stars said...

Love the pics. The wheels of my mind keep turning the pics over & over. Never rode a velo moteur, looks intersting :)

...louciao... said...

The first photo of the random wheel with the French Alps in the background looks so wonderfully fake. It would make a perfect postcard! There just aren't enough bizarre postcards in the world.

When my grandfather was a very young man, he got a job as a telegraph delivery boy. The only qualification was that he needed to know how to ride a bike, which he didn't. But he lied about it, got hired, and took the bike home for the weekend to learn how to ride it. When he started dating my grandmother, he'd call for her on his bicycle, and she'd sit on the handlebars (sounds awkward but love conquers all, I guess) and they'd peddle off on their date. He went on to become a champion bike racer and even competed in the Olympics. But he never rode a vélo-moteur.

The Sagittarian said...

Well, wheelie, looks like our big sis already has 'spoken' (ahem)...have never ridden one of those things, but my Dad had an old Army Indian motor bike which he let us sit on with him. Does that count?

Steve said...

I love that lone wheel. There's something rebellious and free spirited about it. I imagine it ran away from the car it once belonged to just to go out into the world and "find itself". It looks like a wheel at peace.

mythopolis said...

Looks like someone lost a spare off the back of the roadster. Here it is customary when finding a stray hubcap, to set it at the side of the road assuming its owner may backtrack and find it. I had an old Indian too, Sagittarian! ( no chain, but rather a double belt drive!)

Never rode on a 'velo-moteur', but these days, I am in search of a good used Moped for doing the local scoot.

Stickup Artist said...

These are gems! I love to find the odd bit of the man-made sitting out their in a natural setting. It always gets the "wheels spinning," giving a new elevated meaning to familiar forms.

Mary Ann said...

I found a dream car right here in Beirut the other day. If I can get a picture of it that does it justice, I'll post it . . . soon, I hope.

Lena said...

Une balade sur vélo-moteur... ca fait rêver...

I love the textures on that shot... A printed version would most definitely make a great addition to any room... wowie...

Céline said...

Once upon a time, I rode a solex, a strange vehicule between a bicycle and a mobilette, with a motor above the front wheel... En tout cas, celui-là ne me semble pas confortable : il manque un élément essentiel !

Lulu Sorcière said...

Comme Céline, j'ai connu le Solex et la mobylette de mon grand-père. Il y a à la maison un vieux side qui attend une petite restauration, faut que je le prenne en photo !
Bises

James said...

Beautiful classic black and white! I really like the top composition.

Springman said...

What comes to mind is De Sica's wonderful film The Bicycle Thief that is often described as Italian Neorealism. These photos could be described as Owenesque-Neo-realist photography. This new term, right down to its double hyphens,recklessly tries to captures the brilliance of your artistic vision. Pity those who come after you!

P.S.
Just finished reading "Goodbye Dusky Seaside Sparrow" on your recomendation. Much appreciated!

Dee Newman said...

Reminds me of the old moped bike I use to ride 50 years ago.

Owen, don't forget that before "man" invented the wheel kids were doing cart-wheels.

ρομπερτ said...

They lift up what was before down to the ground.

The first feels as if it still looking for the three others. The motor bike, one can only imagine the many stories being able to tell.
Thank you for this escape into thoughts far and wide. Please have a good new month you all.

Looking for Siddhartha said...

you let the abandoned things live again! Such a beautiful and respectable purpose!
Have a nice day, dear Owen!
Renée

Scott said...

I'm always on the lookout for blogs that focus on photography (pun intended). Today I found yours. Very interesting. I'll be back.

Joey Polanski said...

The bicycle mechanic, standing up as he perspired,

Plopped into a nearby chair and muttered, "Wheel tired."

Owen said...

Hey Gary, thanks ! Guess you are going to be able to do some more snow photos, again...

Owen said...

Looking to Stars...
If they contribute to other wheels turning, so much the better... What was it the Grateful Dead said in their song "The Wheel"... something like :

"Small wheel turn by the fire and rod
Big wheel turn by the grace of god
Everytime that wheel turn round
Bound to cover just a little more ground..."

Thanks for rolling on in here...

Owen said...

Dear Lynne,
Funny, I was thinking exactly the same thing about the first one looking fake, like some movie sets, where the painted background landscape obviously doesn't jive with the foreground. But I assure you, this is exactly how it came out of the camera, on a remote road in southern France near the town of Gap. Funny, when I stopped here to look at this roadside wheel, which had come off a tricycle, there was a big flat rock by the roadside, that someone had used as a pallet to squeeze out and mix their paints on while painting a picture here. The paint on the rock was so cool looking, and I realized the rock could be fractured, so I sheared of the very top layer of rock, and took it home with me. I still have it all these years later, on a shelf just a few feet away from me here in the basement... It obviously wanted to live with me...

Thanks too for story about your grandfather and his courting days on a bicycle... No wonder the mail didn't get delivered on time if he was out riding your grandmother around on the handlebars. Did anyone get a photo of them together on the bike ?

Owen said...

Hey Saj, so was your dad named Burt Munro ??? Or were there just alot of Indian motorcycles around NZ back then ? And yeah, that big Sis, she's fast, you wouldn't want to play mumbletypeg with her !
:-)

Peter said...

When visiting South America, I realised that the Incas, with such a fantastic culture, had not invented - or did not make use of - the wheel. They carried all the heavy stones to build their cities, without the help of wheels!

Owen said...

Hi Steve, yeah, it was a rebel wheel at heart, out free-wheeling along, taking it easy by the roadside... it was a run-run-runaway, I thought about bringing it home with me, but it was perfect right where it was...

Owen said...

Hi Myth, so you too were an Indian rider... guess you've seen the film about Burt Munro ?

The poor velo-moteur here would have been no competition for you or Burt I'm afraid...

As for the wheel by the roadside, it wasn't car size, but tricycle size...

Owen said...

Hi Stickup, keep those wheels spinning ! And keep your eyes peeled, these things appear in the strangest, most unexpected of places... but you know that...
:-)

Owen said...

Hi Mary Ann, can't wait to see your dream car ! Wish I'd had more time in Beirut and Lebanon, barely scratched the surface in two weeks there, and could see it is a photographer's paradise...

Owen said...

Hola Lena,
Un vélo-moteur pourrait aller pour faire la tour de la ville, mais en campagne sur les routes longues et pleines de virages, il faut une moto plus apte pour la tâche, une Ducati peut-être, une vieille Triumph...

And if you would like a much larger copy of the photo to print and hang on a wall, feel free to drop me an e-mail, I'll answer with an attachment... I'd be very very happy to have a photo on a suitable wall somewhere in Mexico...
:-)

Owen said...

Chère Céline,
J'adore ces commentaires en deux langues ! Je me souviens d'avoir vu des vieux Solex dans le sud quelque part, mais ça fait longtemps. And you are so right, I think to ride this one you would have to stand up on the pedals, sitting down is not an option...
LOL !

Owen said...

Hi Lulu,
Tu veux dire une moto avec sidecar ? Oui, j'aimerais voir la photo... J'ai toujours trouvé les sidecars une drole de façon de faire de la moto... car la performance n'est plus du tout celle d'une moto... Et c'est en restauration pour que tu puisses y balader assise tranquilement ???

Owen said...

James,
Hey there, how's the winter treating you this week ???

In the south of France, near the Alps, good compositions are easy to come by... can't wait to head back down that way...

Owen said...

Dearest Springman !

You are clearly no neophyte in coining new terms to cope with the challenge of describing unusual artwork ! Even with double hyphens, it has a nice ring to it ! Owenesque-Neo-realist... I will treasure that. It's better than Owens-Nean-derthalesque compositions...

Am pleased to hear you could find the Dusky Seaside article in that book and enjoyed it. I remember I read it in a waiting room years and years ago, and borrowed the magazine it was in right away to make a copy, which has followed me ever since, for it is a truly extraordinary essay.

Extinction... what an awful concept. When it is the fault of man. Love your silos piece...

Owen said...

Hey Dee,
Before man invented the wheel, man was running from boulders that came rolling down mountains... and was howling at perfectly round objects in the night sky...
:-)

Owen said...

Hi Robert,
You never fail to touch the essence of a subject... and leave me in a pondering frame of mind. If you are enjoying some of these escapes far and wide, then I'm happy, because that is exactly what they are... me escaping for a moment from the here and now, and roaming off into the vast landscapes of the imaginary, the past, the future, the what-might-have-been...

Owen said...

Yes Renée, I am with you, chanting, let them live again. Objects like these took and incredible amount of human ingenuity to create, considerable creative skills went into them... to just abandon them, and even worse, to totally forget them, just doesn't seem right. So in a very small way, these photos are their memory, their memorial...

Thanks Renée, Ich bin so glücklich, die Sie besuchen die Laterne ...

Owen said...

Hi Scott, a big thank you for dropping in here to this obscure little blog... hope to see you again

Owen said...

Hey Joey !

I'm just tickled bright pink

To find a few lines

Of your original rhymes

Here in the comment rink !

Do come again, smiles are always welcome here...
:-)

Owen said...

Peter, maybe that's why they vanished ???

Anonymous said...

Silence has come :)

Alberto Oliver said...

Owen!! uff,,that was close,,but fortunately "we" are back,,like the dynamic duo we my computer and I are. and I was starting to go nutZ without my gate to the wonderful blogger world. And how nice to see that picture of you of the lonely wheel in the wild countryside, it somehow will always remind me now,,of the day i opened again my eyes to the Web world.
Thanks for all your support dear friend, oh you know such encouraging words are pricelss. But despite it all,,I think i have lernt a lesson, no matter what happen,,it is always great to receive a second chance,,and every day in life is just that,,a new chance,,to live and be happy!!
Well, may you have a wonderful day Owen!! All the best for you ;)

Roxana said...

oh my, that first pic! i am blown away... i always love your old photos, they have such a charm to them - but this one is special, a bit of surrealist flair to it, like a Duchamp composition :-)

...louciao... said...

Some say the heart is just like a wheel...

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

Used to like that song.

Carla said...

HI Owen, thanks for reminding of one of the all time great inventions. Cool pics. Carla

Lulu Sorcière said...

Coucou Owen, il n'y a pas la moto, juste le vieux side à retaper, il faut qu'on lui offre une vieille Harley, pour partir pépère sur les routes avec le panier de pique-nique en osier ;-)
Je m'occupe de photographier ça ce WE... faut que je débarasse un "peu" autour pour accéder à l'engin !
Bises.

Owen said...

Dear Anonymous for whom silence has come... ah, silence is golden... but who art thou ?

Owen said...

Alberto,
Excellent news ! It's hard to imagine life without a computer these days ! Glad to hear yours is back on line again... I wish it a long life ahead, fulfilling its intended mission, and not being lazy and not working...
:-)
All best wishes to you too... Spring is on the way now !

Owen said...

Hi Roxana !
Duchamp ? That may be one of the kindest comparisons ever made ! I love his work... a visionary, he was. Did you see Springman's remark above ? He calls it :

Owenesque-Neo-realist style...

Maybe Neo-wheelist...

Be well Roxana, don't overdose on the chocolate... or maybe that is not possible ?
:-)

Owen said...

Hi Lynne... oh my, never saw those three together before. I'll let you in on a secret; long ago, I used to have the biggest crush on Linda Rondstadt...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FiKHaSRMeg

How I longed to drown my sorrow in the warm glow of her wine...
:-)
:-)
:-)

Owen said...

Hi Carla,
Without the wheel, we might still be wearing animal skins and living in caves. (which is not necessarily a bad thing...)
:-)

Owen said...

Bonsoir Lulu,
Ne fait pas de folies pour moi ! Ca pourrait attendre le printemps...

Un excellent weekend à toi !

Catherine said...

that first shot is a real stunner...greetings from Mexico

Elisa said...

I like these rustic photos from you. Very nice.. In Finland I would say 'niissä on särmää' I don't know how to say it in english.. anyway my english is terrible, sorry!

Amanda said...

at first thought it might have been left behind from some tour de france but then saw it was from a moto-bike!

lonely image. strangely beautiful composition.

Karine A. said...

Avec ces photos d'un autre temps que tu nous propose régulièrement, je me demande comment il se fait que nous, ne voyons pas toutes ces merveilles?