Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A third floor in Paris

Schindler has put a sophisticated elevator system in the Le Monde building. You push on a central control panel the number of the floor you wish to go to and next, on a small digital screen, the letter of one of the elevators is announced. The problem is that on the doors of each elevator the letter is painted in a huge, almost abstract way. The screen told Michel Szulc Krzyzanowski to take elevator C and next a desperate and nerve wrecking search followed to find the corresponding letter. This may sound overreacting to modernity but getting into an elevator with the wrong letter might take the innocent and amateuristic visitor for example straight to Le Monde's boardroom where embarassement would strike deep facing Le Monde's important persons with Michel Szulc Krzyzanowski's irrelevant although interesting pictures.
The third floor is where the magazine is produced. Humans making a magazine, seems to happen by having them sit behind desks. It is the imagemakers who go out into the real world. Therefore Michel Szulc Krzyzanowski, in the field a lot, is always rather puzzled what all those people behind their desks are actually doing. They all have computers in front of them, with pictures on the sides of the monitor showing what might be their children, their lovers or their pets. And all desks are full of papers and documents. It is a very strange situation. Michel Phillipot, being important, is having an office of his own, although it has one wall made of glass from where he can see the desks of the others and they can see him. It is total chaos in his office. Everywhere papers and books.
"Bonjour !" says Phillipot, " I had wanted to call your gallery to cancel this appointment because in fact I have no time to see you"
As a photographer this is a treatment often experienced. If the photographer lets his emotions and thinking get out of control, he will feel and think he is being denegrated, scummed, pissed upon.
A professional photographer though remains polite, although never forgets. And takes a position of authority by counting on, that in spite of Phillipot's imagined or not tight schedule, photographer is not going to be send away without showing the new work.
But at the same time the photographer realizes that even before having taken the images from the portfolio, the reception-mode of the editor is in negative territory, having therefore hardly a chance to make a successfull deal.
Phillipot looks at the images and says: " Ca c'est plustot interessant ". To later add that this is his personal opinion. But that he believes that the images are too difficult for his readers. Michel Szulc Krzyzanowski of course immediately starts philosophizing about this remark. Le Monde is the newspaper of the most intelligent people in France who seem not to be able, according to Phillipot, to understand the pictures of Michel Szulc Krzyzanowski made on a beach in Mexico. This puts the photographer on a dizzying high level of intellectualism. Above that of the French intelligentsia. At the same time, on that skyhigh level, it already feels rather lonely there, like having lost touch with humanity, and market, because in heaven no magazines are published.
After some polite remarks an elevator puts Michel Szulc Krzyzanowski back into the huge hall. He is not thinking so much anymore of organising a party there as came to his mind when entering the building. His mood has of course drastically changed. But he does, we must say on purpose, pass close Miss Reception (on the phone again) for a last drowning in her green eyes.

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