Monday, October 15, 2012

Return to the Future Past . . .

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Here are a few more photos from the same site that the photo currently entered in a contest was taken at (see below post, and please vote), out in a stretch of woods in northern France that not many people ever visit, where there are dozens of large sculptures carved in the stone of an old quarry, which date from the First World War. You can also see more pictures of this site here. Sadly, this little known site is out in a remote forest, exposed to the weather, and the magnificent artwork here is slowly but surely disappearing. I'm going back there tomorrow to make another series of photos to help document what's left. Wish you could come...
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38 comments:

Mouse said...

Aah, I wish I could come too. I LOVE exploring with my camera! Beautiful photos, thanks for sharing.

kwarkito said...

c'est fascinant, je ne connaissais pas du tout l'erxistence de cet endroit. Merci

Lorrene said...

Fascinating! It should be under lock and key so it could not be destroyed.

louciao said...

Well, I just left you a lovely, poetic heartfelt message here but bloody Google ate it. Such an act of random mayhem is, nevertheless, not as heart breaking as the wearing away and defacement of the stone carvings you are chronicling. The ghosts there will doubtlessly walk with you, silently cheering you on in deep appreciation of having their work and messages observed, chronicled, shared.

Adam said...

These are amazing Owen, but are you keeping the location of the place a secret?

The weathering of the sculptures makes them even more emotive, but at the same time it would be a shame not to preserve at least some of them.

Gwen Buchanan said...

So much history in your country... puts one back in the mind of the creators... needing something to occupy themselves to stay sane. it's a shame it's deteriorating ...

Alyson (New England Living) said...

Wow, this is beautiful! And the history is amazing!

Steve said...

Plainly a location rich and deep in history and atmosphere.

Prospero said...

The intrepid explorer...

Owen, i was deeply touched by your heartfelt condolences. Angie was everything to me. i am still struggling to cope with the loss of what Edith Wharton called "a heartbeat at my feet." i abandoned my blog (Angie's mirror) only to create a new one on wordpress. It's not the same without Angie, but i find that the blog has some therapeutic value.

http://exiledprospero.wordpress.com/

Le Journal de Chrys said...

Toujours des découvertes chez toi: des traces du passé, de l'Histoire!!!

Amanda said...

stunning photographs of such a mysterious place, and with such archaeological overtones. reminds me of how visitors during the napoleonic era carved graffiti into the pyramids. human's need to create art on top of art seems endless.

Chef Files said...

Superb subject matter, very inspiring. You never let me down.

Robert said...

Intriguant les visages de pierre

groayla said...

Amazing !!!
groayla

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Eerie and beautiful.

'Tsuki said...

Voilà donc l'explication de ce chevalier de pierre pour lequel tu voulais notre vote... Le visage de Sphinx me fascine !

Je participe à un blog, le defifoto ; le thème de ce mois-ci c'est "porte-ouverte" ; j'ai pris pas mal de portes différentes, et à présent, j'ai un mal fou à choisir l'heureuse élue qui participera...

Veux-tu me donner un petit coup de main en agrémentant tes préférées d'un commentaire ?

http://lunedemaledaumon.blogspot.fr/search/label/Porte%20ouverte

D'avance merci,

Bon week-end !

James said...

The art is amazing and so is the historical significance. I'm so glad you are documenting it. I just wish I could see it for myself.

Owen said...

Hi Mouse, (our cat just perked up her ears on hearing that greeting!)
Many thanks for stopping by, if you enjoy getting out with your camera, you would have a field day here...

Owen said...

Bonjour Kwarkito... bienvenu... en fait je pense qu'il y a très peu de monde qui connait l'existence de cet endroit magique. C'est perdu dans une forêt au nord de Compiegne, et assez difficile à trouver...

Owen said...

Lorrene, totally agree with you. At the very least it should have a roof over it, as just the rain, and freezing rain is wearing the sculptures down, slowly but surely...

Owen said...

Ah Lynne, am sorry then to have missed the poetic, heartfelt version, given that the surviving version feels already quite sincere and well spoken, but then you have such a way with words, who would not be captivated by the merest sliver of a silver phrase from your quiver ? And no doubt there are some ghosts around there, the slaughter that resulted from battles over the four years of that awful war that happened very close to this spot was horrendous. There is apparently a small cemetery in the woods very close to this stone quarry, but I haven't found it yet... am going back soon to look...

Owen said...

Hi Adam,
It's not a secret, the site is the Carrière Chauffour, for which you can find more info/photos by searching Google... it is in a stretch of woods near Thiescourt in the Oise, north of Compiegne, but can be a bit hard to find unless one knows exactly where it is. I found it by going to Thiescourt and asking people in the village until I found someone willing to tell me how to get there... I couldn't find any GPS coordinates for it on the web. It is on private property, but given that it is in a large forest, it would be easy to wander in there without having seen any signs about private property. It is a shame that the site is not protected and no efforts being made to preserve it for future generations... I first saw photos of it in Jean S. Cartier's excellent book named "Traces de la Grande Guerre"...

Owen said...

Dear Gwen, I think staying sane during those years must have been a major preoccupation for many... and they didn't know much about PTSD in those days...

Owen said...

Hi Alyson, wonderful to read you here, it's been a little while... hope the autumn is beautiful in New England !

Owen said...

Steve, atmosphere so thick you could cut it with a knife... or rather... with a bayonet...

Owen said...

Prospero... be well, thanks for dropping in here... am off to look at wordpress page...

Owen said...

Dear Chrys, et oui, même si un peu au ralenti, encore des découvertes à faire dans ce bas monde... bon dimanche !

Owen said...

Hi Amanda, from an archaeological point of view you would love this region of France I think, traces from over the centuries if one digs a little bit...

Owen said...

Oh Chef Files... wonderful to see you out and about, had thought we'd lost you to the vapors and fogs of cyberspace that often throw up impenetrable veils of mysterious loss...

I love what happens when one tries to right-click something on your page ! Hilarious. Would have never thought of trying to steal any cutlery, and certainly not from a fellow like you...

Sincerely hope all is well in the far northern expanses, and will look forward to more of your expansive views on subjects like Pecan Pie !

Owen said...

Bonjour Robert... effectivement, plus qu'intriguant... fascinant même...


Groayla... indeed, indeed, many thanks for your visit ! come again...

Owen said...

Hi Laura, it's been ages, hope all is good in your corner of the library...

Owen said...

Salut Tsuki, je pars regarder les portes... et de retour, j'ai trouvé mon bonheur...

Et oui, le cavalier d'antan faisait partie de plein d'autre sculptures sur ce site perdu au milieu d'un bout de bois.

Tu connais peut-être les oeuvres de Jean Raspail ? Il avait un faible pour des cavaliers mystérieux...

Owen said...

James, hopefully one day you will be able to see it for yourself, just need to get back over here, and get in touch with your guide... :-)

Catherine said...

Stunning sequence - I get the feeling you are the only person recording them?

Audrey said...

magnifique merci du partage

Peter Olson said...

I remember a walk with your for similar treasures! Fascinating, but I was especially fascinated by your fascination! Maybe soon time for a walk together again?

A. LaRoque said...

Great series! Voted!

Karine A. said...

Toi, dans une autre vie, tu seras historien...:-)