Yesterday marked the first day of the 19th annual Photography Festival! Arles is alive and bursting with brilliant photos from all over the world, and I feel so incredibly lucky to be here with all of this excitement going on. Last evening I attended a projection show that displayed many of the different photographer’s photos, coming from the U.S. Switzerland, Belgium, Asia, France, you name it. I like seeing how people from different places interpret universal topics. The word that keeps coming to mind when I look at these photos is “Impermanence.” Nothing is permanent. Not the people in the photos, not the photos themselves. I’m looking at all of these moments that happened through these photographs that are the representative memory of that moment, and for a second I ask myself, “Why are we so concerned with the present if it’s just going to become the past? If it’s just going to become a photograph?” I applied that to my life and the adventure that I’m currently on. Then I started thinking about the big question stuff, “What is it all worth?” and all that jazz. But then I decided that it doesn’t really matter what it all means. At one point in time, that moment in that photograph was really happening and the people in that photograph were really feeling something and at that moment they weren’t worrying about their impermanence in this world. They were simply living. They are impermanent but they decide to make that memory anyway. And that’s what I think Photography, and so much of the photography in this festival does is be the representative memory of a single moment in time.
Now for lavender fields I visited this past Saturday. It is well-known by my friends and family that I’ve wanted to wander the narrow paths of the lavender fields and explore the countryside of the south of France since I learned I would be attending this program, so I took the train to Avignon and from there was picked up in a van driven by a man with two missing fingers who’s lifelong dream was to be a cowboy (how he lost the fingers) and has traveled pretty much this entire globe. I rode shot gun and he called me his “copilot” and we spoke in French the entire time about the places he’s been and we shot the breeze while driving through the mountains. Another gem in the collection of incredible people I’ve met this summer.
We stopped along the side of the road to look down into the valley and the land was quilted green and lavender spotted with small villages. We then stopped in front of a field of lavender and our guide said the group, “Ok. You can spend about forty-five minutes walking around,” at which point my heart felt like it would burst, and so I spent the allotted time slowly putting one foot just in front of the other all the way across the field, stopping every dozen steps or so to turn full-circle and regard the mountains and the billowing clouds. It was a dream-like day that I will not soon forget.
Until next time,
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<div><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Hello! My name is Hannah Jacobsma. I am a French and English double major at Hope College. I am studying abroad in Arles this summer for six weeks, and couldn't be more stoked! To explore and be immersed in this culture, meeting people of all kinds along the way, is what I look forward to the most. I'd love to share my journey with you all, and tell you stories along the way. ~Peace and Blessings</span></div>