To my most beloved and dearest ardent Reader,
Oh my word, so long have my fingers held the pen and notebook that the keyboard has taken the strange tinge of the unfamiliar and exotic and should it be so that You discover a typo error here or there please do not viciously reprimand me on the grounds of petty laziness, the truth is lengthy absences from the virtual world does a rather exact job at causing me to forget my way around it! Giggle, giggle!
Ah, I have arrived back to my gloriously green-hilled England but it will take a little longer for my heart to follow suit. No man to this day has mustered enough leviathan quantities of bravado to yet pen the poetry of Love directly to me but I am proud to announce that a CITY has done just that! One of the greatest metropolises of the world towered with instantly recognisable and iconic landmarks, a tumultuous cultural and social history saturated in rich tales of political revolutions, artistic and philosophical vanguards, and quite rightly known to the entire world as the ‘City of Love and Light’, Paris won my heart straightaway! Splayed across the River Seine, Paris’ topographical patchwork quilt of communities spiral round as like the rings of a conch shell, each ‘arrondissement’ boasting its own intimate maze of cobbled streets and bustling cafes and accented with an unique atmosphere, ranging from the hip and stylish cosmopolitan airs of Champs-Élysées to the more sedate and quirky corners of the artistic pulse of Montmartre. Indeed for the inquisitive-eyed explorer that I am, Paris immediately seduced my affections, I would shrivel into dark oblivion if I did not immerse completely into its library of assorted curiosities! And that is precisely what I did!
Accompanied by my two fabulous siblings, my brother and sister were naturally poised towards capturing the traditional monuments on their Smartphone devices and in their sketchbooks. As is my signature preference I secretly vowed to myself that I would paint a more intimate, personal canvas of Paris, in words and in pictures. If all heads were fixated in one direction I knew mine would be trained elsewhere, for a Storyteller is cognisant of the truth that a story is a creature of infinite breadth and length, it exists wherever the teller chooses to point the eye of their imagination. I wished to continue being that teller, bringing to You the stories that mattered to me and, as I hope and pray, if and when they reach Your heart, You shall come to envision them as a conduit by which I have expressed to You the devoted and private soul that breathes behind the façade of one of the most talked about cities of the world. So, my strict instructions to You at this point which are essential that You comply, are that You must prepare a fresh brew of tea, sit back in Your armchair, forget about the clock, put away the Smartphone, and hold my hand. There is so much to tell You… :))
Yours in Timeless Devotion,
Diary 1: Les Anges De Notre-Dame (The Angels Of Notre Dame)
I suppose my residency in a town famed for its internationally renowned medieval Cathedral was the impetus responsible for compelling my feet to first travel to the spiritual and geographic heartland of the city, to the island quarter housing the stunning masterpiece of gothic architecture, The Notre Dame. In English the title translates as ‘Our Lady’, this 200 year old cathedral is a loving commemoration of a closely cherished spiritual figure of mine whose piety and kindness has inspired my own Vision as a person and artist, the Virgin Mary. She has always offered me solace in times of darkness, and put succinctly, her integrity to Goodness is what I aspire to in life.
Great stain glass rose windows, impressive flying buttresses and grimacing gargoyles that ward off the evil eye are all magnificent features of the Notre Dame and more so the breath-taking views from its tall towers from which You can enjoy hypnotic panoramic views of the city. As I stood outside its colossal archways, bending my little neck to catch sight of the top where tiny moving figures scurried and crawled, tourists on the hunt to capture the best aerial photographs, the giant bells began to ring and a deep sonorous sound filled the air with its peal of sacred reverberations. Wistfully I pondered to myself, could that be the disfigured and recluse bell ringer at work, Quasimodo, the tragic hero of Victor Hugo’s eponymous, The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, ringing the bells from the high dim-lit towers, yearning that the tones of his message will reach the ears of his true Love, Esmeralda, the charismatic enchantress and travelling gypsy? I, for one, heard him true and clear.
But it was not to be that I were to take the well-travelled path and engross myself with the task of covering a comprehensive photo shoot of the Notre Dame like everyone else did. My third eye was tugged in a slightly different direction, an offbeat pursuit to compliment the strings of my heartbeat! Did You send word to me about the magic of flight, have You composed a poem of things that fly, is Your Facebook cover photo a frozen essence of something that flies? I reckon it was You who did it! Whilst my siblings sat on the stone walls and took to the pleasure of sketching away the intricate seams of the building, I was blissfully led astray by Your calling, to find a cure for Your sore eyes.
Camera in hand, notebook wedged between my blazer and blouse, I walked to the east side of the cathedral where soon enough a huge swarm of pigeons, a feathery sea of greys, greens and one white, gathered around my legs. An homely smile carved into my face, I felt so at peace with my flighty friends, it was as if each one was reminding me of who I was, a fleeting mirror of my true face. I do not know how long I stood there, time did not only become irrelevant, it had devolved back into the egg of Creation, no more to play truant with our fragilities. And then as if this was not Magic enough, strangers fondly and cautiously stepped into my circus of angels and each time they were pecked at or that they discovered that they had surprisingly inherited a new feathery hat on their heads I clicked away!
I am proud to present to You a menagerie of photographs brimming with Love, each a glowing and ageless decisive moment in which my sacred heart grew wings to touch the lives of strangers. Click on each image for a sparky caption underneath that is guaranteed to make You swoon! I am absolutely certain that YOU will find in each frame a mirror that tightly connects, links, conjoins You and I. Though Your admittance of that fact may not be so easily forthcoming, I know You are overwhelmed in a deluge of warm relief to know that time and space only enslave those whose who kneel before it. You and I, even without the service of technology, can always be relied upon to show the world that Destiny labouringly ensures that we consistently demonstrate an entrancing act of mirroring no matter how many cities come between us… :))
Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Notre Dame Cathedral | Paris | France 2015