Many years ago, my parents took themselves and my youngest sister on a vacation to Paris. Well, I’d imagine it was probably more of a vacation for both my mom and sister. Whereas for my father, in the City of Love, I know he was continually eyeing his surroundings with a photographic angle at every step he took. To him, it was work.
Additionally, he lugged with him (on the plane, no less!) the gigantic medium format Pentax 67ii, a rather heavy tripod, several lenses and boxes of slide film. I’m convinced my sister probably burrowed her face within her hands as they boarded the plane and bumped past their fellow passengers. Bump. Bump. Thump.
Of the many images taken during their time there, this one stands out as my favorite. I wonder where my mom and sister were at the time this photo was captured. Were they tucked away in their rooms for the night? Or quite possibly, they were enjoying an ice cream around the corner, giggling from afar as they watched my father tote around his camera bag. And I wonder what my father was thinking as he took this image? Why this particular establishment?
As to the last question, I may have an answer for that. My father was a man of the classics; his best friends were Conrad, Marx, Nietzsche, Hemingway, T.S. Eliot, Malcolm Muggeridge, Orwell, Dickens, and others. As a child growing up in our home, abreast along an entire wall, were four book cases that were overindulged with their works. And that’s not to mention the works of Beethoven, Schubert, Handel, Brahms, Bach, Stravinsky and Mozart, too.
And somewhere, likely within some of the many biographies that he had on his friends, he probably read that they may have visited this place. Used as a social gathering of sorts, a means to free the clutter within their creative minds.
I like to hold onto the idea that he was there for that very reason. To see and feel what it was like for his buddies to sit, dine and bask in their witty banter with their likeminded intellectuals. And I’d like to hold onto the idea that I’ll someday be able to visit the Le Dôme Café, to see and feel the same, too.