Photographer's Note

My first photo in five months is dedicated to the Colombian writer, Gabriel Garcia Márquez, who died in Mexico City on 17 April, aged 87.

I foraged around among my recent photos for a photo with a reflective, elegiac tone, suggestive of solitude in memory of Garcia Márquez's famous 1967 novel, Cien Años de Soledad, or One Hundred Years of Solitude.

Some searching indicates his death has not been noted in any photos on TE, but I may be mistaken. In any case, if anyone should note his passing it should be the member who calls himself after the fantastic fictional town of Macondo, the name of a faded banana plantation the writer remembered from the journey he undertook with his mother to Aracataca, the Caribbean town of his birth. Garcia Márquez described Macondo thus:

"At that time Macondo was a village of 20 adobe houses built on the bank of a river of clear water that ran along a bed of polished stones, which were white and enormous, like prehistoric eggs. The world was so recent that many things lacked names, and in order to indicate them it was necessary to point."

No one who has read One Hundred Years of Solitude has forgotten, surely, the opening sentence: "Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice."

The photo, of course, really has nothing to do with Garcia Márquez or Colombia, bananas or ice, but shows a solitary ageing figure - let's imagine he is a retired colonel - beside the Vieux Port in Marseille, looking south towards the most elevated point in the city, upon which stands the Notre-Dame de la Garde church, consecrated in 1864. The lonely figure reminded me of the title of Garcia Márquez's 1961 novella, No One Writes to the Colonel. That novella concludes in immortal fashion with the colonel's wife asking what they might live on until their fighting cock wins on Sunday:

“In the meantime, what will we eat?"

Members who have lived under the spell of Garcia Márquez's writings may appreciate my eulogistic note; others will, I hope, forgive this apparent indulgence.

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