Monday, 26 December 2011

Sab's Top Ten Paris Wallace Fountains: No.5 ~ "Self-Fountaination"

POSTED IN:  ~ PlacesTop 10 ~ Wallace Fountain

Sab's Top Ten Paris Wallace Fountains
No.5) "Self-Fountaination" ~ Introduction 
by Sab Will,  wannabe offbeat Paris street guru

Me and Wallace, we're like that you know - practically brothers. Will - Willace - Wallace; you see, family, more or less.

It's true that as a Scot I feel more than a passing affinity with the so-called philanthropist who gave a bucketful of these fountains to my adopted city in a wild and utterly un-Scottish display of largesse if you believe the old cliché about the mean old Scots. My theory's that he'd had a few too many wee drams and was letting the whisky get in the way of wiser choices at the signing of the contract.

Whatever the truth of the matter, the fact is that there are now Wallace Fountains on practically every street corner.

They've now become so symbolic of the Parisian cityscape that they grace guide book covers and no Parisian photo essay would be complete without at least one picture of these emblematic watering holes, originally intended for the poor and thirsty in search of clean liquid refreshment.

They're generally green. But not always. There aren't enough colour variations to fill an entire Paris Top Ten, but if you'll allow me a little personal indulgence I'll try to supply you with ten Wallace Fountains which all offer you their own personal story, interwoven with mine. Santé!

Sab's Top Ten Paris Wallace Fountains
No.5) ~ "Self-Fountaination"

As I mention in the intro above, I've always felt an affinity with these things. We Scots don't have that much to shout about in world terms to be honest, so when I think that one of our own sprinkled these things all over my adopted /adoptive city, I find it curiously pleasing.

And as I've evolved in the city of water (and light), so my relationship with the Wallace fountains developed also.

Self-portraits form an important part of my work, and upon seeing this one I thought it would fill a certain slot in my Paris Wallace Fountains Top Ten, which has become about 50% weirdly coloured specimens I've spotted, 50% my own personal interactions with them.

I can't remember the comments I made to accompany the original publication of this one, if any, but I like the rodent-like effect achieved here.

In a city which allegedly has one rat per person, with water being a highly communal commodity, it's nice to blur the boundaries between inhabitants a little.

While the gorgeous flowing green contours of the ladies' robes are unmistakable, the actual fountain itself remains fuzzy, even to me. It was probably taken by a client on one of my photo tours, with me taking care of the histrionics, but whether it was in Montmartre or the Marais, the Latin Quarter or a Lesser Known Quartier will probably remain forever a mystery.

And so much the better. Trying to define my relationship with this city and its symbols is complicated, so I prefer the origins of this image to remain indefinite, as a testimony to the fuzziness of Parisian existence. And Wallace fountains.

Discover all my Paris Wallace Fountains 

* Sab Will runs Photo and Curios Tours in Paris, and also manages a variety of Paris and photography-themed sites and blogs. He writes an illustrated Paris Chronicle every day, runs a Meetup group for Paris lovers, interviews Paris personalities and reviews Paris books (on this blog), and even contributes to the city's street art (shh), so feel free to browse some of the links below and in the right-hand column to find out more about what he gets up to out there...

© 2011 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Suggestions, questions, requests and offers always welcome!

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