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On Wednesday, after walking 77 miles over the previous week, I was tired! I wrote a few blog posts, did some reading, and basically just put my feet up! I love walking, and it’s one of my favorite things to do in Paris. Over the decade I’ve been coming here I’ve consistently averaged about 7 miles a day (though only 6 in 2018). I knew from last year that I would be below average during my stay in the 15ème with my cousins, but I counted on Sherard’s insatiable appetite for walking to compensate. What I didn’t count on was that I would be walking almost as much with C.N. on the four days before Sherard arrived. So it turned out to be eleven solid days of intensive walking (including a 15-mile half-marathon day).

On Thursday, after more rest, I ventured out to the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson in the 3ème. There were some charming photos by Cartier-Bresson himself but the main event was a small exhibition of enormously enlarged street photos of African cities by a South African photographer, Guy Tillim. I was impressed, but by and large was happier perusing the images in a Paris gallery rather than actually being in one of those cities.

Guy Tillim, Museum of the Revolution exhibition at La Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson

On my way home a gallery I hadn’t visited before this year — Galerie Rabouan Moussion — caught my eye. When I went in I was basically blown away by an exhibition of large-format photographs by Erwin Olaf that combined sumptuous surface beauty with witty, barbed and/or affecting points. Here are shots of a few that I particularly liked.

These two images, hung at very different levels, are related…

In the first, a mature black man sits at a (modest) power desk while a white boy waits in a row of chairs.

In the second image the white boy, somehow, is sitting in the power chair and the black man is nowhere to be seen.

The next two images suggest relationships between two women.

A mother and child? Maybe not, since the book open on the table is Lolita!

Another mother and child? Perhaps the child has done something wrong? But in the context of the previous photograph other interpretations also suggest themselves.

This photograph was my favorite, because of the moving affection it shows as well as the scantily-clad model.

The Farewell, 2018, Erwin Olaf at Galerie Rabouan Moussion, Paris

The Farewell, 2018 (detail), Erwin Olaf at Galerie Rabouan Moussion, Paris

The Farewell, 2018 (detail), Erwin Olaf at Galerie Rabouan Moussion, Paris

I naturally interpret this as a farewell between gay lovers who are about to be separated by the military service of one of them. But actually they could just be good friends, or even adopted brothers. Perhaps the ambiguity of the photograph makes the point that their powerful and obvious affection is the real and important thing. The exact nature of their relationship is relatively unimportant.