This little building sits in a semi circular bend in the main road in my Provençal village. I have been wanting to photograph it for ages and always too busy to ever do so.
It is the entrance and technical storage room for one of the local mines abandoned roughly 50 years ago. I have been driving my children to school past this little darling almost every day for the past 5 years and always glanced at it with envy. Although in ruins, it sits pretty on a small circular patch like a house in a fairy tale, next to a mighty plane tree. Goats regularly graze ont he peaceful little plot of grass.
2 days ago, a construction sign post was set up next to the entrance, ruining a general view shot forever and potentially announcing doom for this piece of local memory.
I walked up to it yesterday morning with my daughter’s Sony NEX-5r plus 16-50 kit in hand lens and the fine print confirmed my fears : demolition will be swift, the ground and building are now off-limits, and a private house will shortly be built in place of the lampisterie (the storage and maintenance room for mining lamps).
So here is my tribute to a small ruin that must have once been a bustling center of rural industry and slowly decayed into its present state of wobblyness and oblivion.
By the time my brief session was over, my fingers and toes were had lost all sensitivity in the prevailing brass monkey conditions. A sensation in *painful* contrast to the subsequent warm up back in my office !
But I’m happy I finally took the time to do this.
First because I usually wait until it’s too late. And not this time. It’s really important to immortalise everything that matters to us before it’s gone, even if there’s no business outcome and no promise of major awards. And it’s not for the documentary aspect either. I don’t believe in the validity of photographic documentary (sorry). But these few pictures are traces of how I felt about the place that will stay with me when the building itself no longer is. These pictures are photographic documentary of what it felt like to me.
And secondly, on a much more prosaic level, because it was my first opportunity to review the little NEX-5r and its kit lens after having been so fond of its elder brother the NEX-5n. My daughter’s been using it with delight for almost a year now, and with good reason. This small package packs a serious punch. More later about this. In the mean time …
… Goodbye Lampisterie.