52 postcards - week 20, Vélo

Berets, baguettes, Brie and bikes; clichés of France. For week 20, I’ve given into a photographic cliché and for bike. Last week, I was in the northern Dordogne region of France, in the La Dronne valley. This is an area of France I’m not familiar with and in many ways it was very like parts of southern England; a gentle rolling landscape with wooded valleys and slow flowing rivers. I made some landscape images, but none captured the memories of the week for me. Bikes or vélos, though did.

I was staying in a beautifully converted chateau stables. The owners run training camps for triathletes and cyclists and my husband was there to continue his return to fitness after his cycling accident last year. Needless to say I wasn’t there to train, but to sit by the river, walk in the meadow and make images!

Along the walls of the courtyard some old bicycles are propped against the soft limestone render of the stables. In the harsh light of day they looked flat and uninteresting, but the warm glow of evening light highlighted the rusty frame, the dried out Brooke’s leather saddle; soft shadows of the frame were cast onto the wall.

For some reason, that I still can’t fathom, the printed version of this card has a green cast. Although my workflow, from camera to monitor to printer, is supposed to be calibrated, this print hasn’t worked and doesn’t look as it does on the screen. I twiddled sliders, changed paper, wasted paper and spent several pounds in ink, but to no avail. Jeff, I’m so sorry that the card you have looks nothing like the image I’d envisioned, but I hope you enjoy this little French cliché none the less. You can see more of Jeff Soderquist’s excellent film photography here.

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