Photos by Sandra Benelli

Sandra is a friend of Isabelle Faucon. Isabelle recommended Sandra and her photos to me. And here are some for you to see, to engage with, including to enjoy.

I have written a few comments by way of feedback to Sandra and I hope that others will do the same. I have added some titles, but Sandra may prefer her own. She just has to let me know.

Feedback from Sandra

😉  Regarding my photos, I thank you for this beautiful enhancement of my photos. Just a remark and not the least: I am Sandra Benelli, and not Sandrine Mignot 😉  

As for the comments, I am pleasantly surprised to see what you manage to detect… I really like the “play” vision of the photos of Nice and the change of point of view according to the photos. It’s exactly that ! I was really observing to trigger and catch the moment… hence also the sometimes “cucul” aspect where I found myself completely spectator in front of the natural elements and so cliché of Nice… but which made me embarked! That’s why some photos are really “clichés”… leaving the viewer that I was dreaming about what I saw and that I tried to capture as best I could.

To complete your analysis, I would say that the framing reinforces the staging and the impression of a show piece. For example, for the palm tree and the man reading his newspaper: it is the fact of having contrasted the imposing side of the palm tree, emblematic element of the Côte d’Azur, holidays and the sun, with the side very serious of the guy who reads his newspaper. For me, it’s a parallel that can be drawn between the tourist setting and people’s daily lives, which can be in opposition to the very watered-down image that we have as tourists.  For the photo of the shadow, it is not on a wall but on the ground, on the Promenade des Anglais. 😉  

Finally, the photos of Clermont are urban paintings where the black/white contrast takes up the urban/nature contrast of Clermont. Everything is also in the framing to reinforce this duality that I love so much in Clermont: the city at the foot of an exceptional nature which makes it a city full of character and authenticity. Two characteristics that revitalize me and resemble me, I believe.  Besides, I allow myself to join you other photos in the same state of mind that I made  there is little that really illustrates this duality and that I seek to capture 😉  A huge THANK YOU to you for this reading of my photos, very enriching for me

Sea and Sky Frame Med-Seanery Working Framework Nature’s Stage Working by the Med

This is a very curious photo. It engages in so many ways. This is reflected in the range of possible titles.

First, it looks like a piece of stage scenery. The sitter can be seen either as the stage and so ‘viewed by the sea and the sky’. Or as the audience ‘viewing the sea and the sky’. These views can change, while looking at the photo. Quite tantalising.

Second, it looks like an artefact with natural and artifactual elements. A bit like a maquette. More like an arrangement, than a piece of theatre. Although it smacks of the theatrical all the same.

Third, it looks like someone working on a public bench by the seaside. A sort of unusual holiday/working snap. Different from some of the other more ‘sea-side’ photos. Working at a distance?

Fourth, it looks like a construction, totally intentional, focussed with strong vertical lines of structure. Even the seat pulls us in two directions. All very unusual.

Fifth, it looks like a form of meditation/contemplation, peace and calm.

PS The photo was taken in Nice, France.

The Mediterranean Frame-Up
Seaside Palm Tree

The palm tree exerts a strong upward pull on the eye. At the same time, the forceful vertical line is topped by a sort natural fireworks (Nature’s Roman candle?). All this is done against a background of sea and sky – two shades of striking blue. The bikes and bystander are minor visual add-ons, emphasising further the majesty/greatness/wonder of the palm tree. I think the upward angle makes the trunk even taller with respect to the fronds (?) than I would normally expect to be the case and so the experience. A second take suggests that it might be a bit ‘corny’, but the thought is quickly dismissed. The palm tree is nothing less than majestic (although I am a Republican myself).

Shadow on the Wall

At least, I think it is a shadow……not sure of what. People in the centre? Chairs framing them? All rather enigmatic. Prompts the curiosity, though. Strong structure. Indeed, not much else. But, I think it’s interesting and engaging. A change from the rest. Striking is another descriptor, I might use.

Sunset on the Med

I like the ‘arranged’ quality of this photo. A single person, a sign, the sea and the sunset. Darkness this way; lightness the other way. Strong contrast. Like the Framed Med it might be thought a bit ‘corny’ or standard or overdone….but again it’s focussed nature causes one to rivet back and start exploring all over again. It’s bit of wonder gone astray. PS Taken in Nice, if you had not already guessed.

A 2-Street Sandwich

No! Not Nice this time. More like Clermont Ferrand. The buildings constitute one strong line. And one facing each other. The bollards make another. Less strong and less straight, but working hard and making a double contrast. It is an unusual ‘take’, but one which pays off. One is drawn in, so to speak. Also, with a way out to the sky. The latter a minor character, but with structural role to play.

This is a classic. I really like it. Bottom and top frames. Mountain in between. Bottom frame a curious mixture – tree and buildings. Top frame the expected sky and clouds. Le Puy is the meat in the sandwich. Content but enigmatic with a strong line of its own. I also like the contrast between the light colours – the sky and the windows and the dark colours – the tree the building walls and the mountain. Altogether most unusual. Makes me sit up and take notice.

Street, Statue and Puy de D

This smacks a bit of the previous photo. Four major components.

Foreground to background:

First, Statue – virtually a silouhette.

Second, the ‘roaded-traffic’/ the trafficked-road/the traffic-road/the road-traffic, including the ‘bus stop/shelter etc.

Third, the buildings – 5 stories and windows to match.

Fourth, the PdD mountain, nature to the rest.

It is a really striking photo and stays in the mind.

Photos of Auzon

First, Nice, then Clermont-Ferrand and now Auzon…….Sandra’s photographic domain knows no bounds…….

Sandra and her friend Isabelle decided to visit John and Paola during the latter’s 2022 Easter visit to their bijou cottage at 2, Rue des Anglais, Auzon. A previous visit produced the Auzon pig video made by Vanessa. John recounted the story, prompted and questioned by Isabelle and Sandra. The video is to be seen on John’s website. This visit was to afford Sandra the opportunity of taking some photos of the ‘mineral’ garden, prompted and associated with a discussion between Isabelle and John. This was Sandra’s dream-team, although she seemed to do most of the prompting herself. However, if she thought it helped, who are we to disagree? Hopefully, all three will provide individual feedback in the form of comments. Others are welcome to do the same.

S –  Reflet flou dans une flaque d’eau comme si la pluie embrouillait la vue, les paysages d’Auzon.

S –  Le chemin de ton jardin, tel la vie pas si droite avec des zones de flou et d’ombres mais aussi un tracé et de la lumière.

S – Parce que le cochon d’Auzon (pour le fun).

 S – Tryptique de gouttes d’eau pour le côté très graphique, abstrait, envoûtant de ces photos.

S Pour moi, ça représente bien l’ouverture (d’esprit et envers les autres) que Paola et toi vous avez… une ouverture avec une profondeur derrière qui demande qu’on s’y arrête comme sur cette photo pour laisser entrevoir le cochon dans votre entrée.

S –  Incroyable le nom de la rue de ta maison… pour le fun, la photo n’a rien d’extraordinaire.

 S – Mise en scène par Paola très narrative.

 S – Qui se cache dans le volet ? Le diable ? Ou un gentil lutin ? ;-).

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