Archive

La Roche Posay

Thermal Spa, La Roche Posay, France. [Alamy image ref. B31J11]

Following on from my last article “#43 Gateway to Success?” I’m remaining in the town of La Roche Posay to describe image sales illustrating what the town is really noted for… spa water. Although formally recognised in 1869 as the first spa in Europe exclusively dedicated to skin disorders, the dermatological tradition at La Roche Posay actually spans five centuries and is based on the locally Selenium-rich spring water. Since those early years a unique base of knowledge and experience on skin cure treatment has been recognized the world over. As I mentioned last week, even Napoleon, when as General Bonaparte on his return from Egypt at the beginning of the 19th century, had a thermal-spa hospital built there to treat his soldiers’ skin diseases.

I took many images from different angles of his attractive spa building but the more interesting ones were of the public approach which included the steps as a “lead-in” to the establishment.

Thermal Spa, La Roche Posay, France. [Alamy image ref. B31J4J]

Both images of “Les Thermes du Connétable” were taken with a 14-24mm f/2.8 Nikkor zoom at the wide end which… became an effective 21mm on my D200’s cropped-format sensor. And because the building was above my eye-level on rising ground, I had to pull the corners out slightly to correct the converging verticals. Although I no longer have my old 28mm PC Nikkor, I’m not sure if it would have provided adequate coverage on my camera – with its x1.5 sensor the effective focal length would have been closer to the 35mm PC used on a full-frame camera – although it would have been from much lower down the slope at road level. I have seen on various websites about this thermal spa that their images of this building are very poor and cut-off… so other photographers had similar problems! However, the newer wide-angle version of Nikon’s PC lens, the 24mm, would provide wonderful perspective on a full-frame Nikon… and the Canon 17mm Tilt & Shift even more exaggerated and extreme.

Licensed as Rights Managed by Alamy for reproduction in daily newspapers as well as monthly consumer magazines in France (as a 2-page spread for a very good fee), Russia and Poland under my “a la France” pseudonym.

Advertisements
La Roche Posay, France. [Alamy image ref. AHE43K]

On many occasions when I have been forced to wait for five minutes or more to progress through a break in the traffic at this narrow gateway in the nearby spa town of La Roche Posay in the Vienne I didn’t think to take a “topical” picture of what it is like to drive, live and shop on top of a “bottleneck”. When I decided to tackle such an angle to illustrate modern traffic conditions in a typical French town with narrow streets in it’s “old quarter” it was an exceptionally quiet day!

More than thirty years ago when I first visited La Roche Posay – I think it must have been before the by-pass had been constructed – I remember a string of large lorries pumping fumes from their exhausts as they waited and waited for a signal from a gendarme to progress with caution through the low, narrow arch of the ancient gateway… and then on to a safer passing and crossing point over the river Creuse a few hundred meters distant. Many towns like this were planned and evolved with defence in mind… horses and carts being the only form of transportation many centuries ago.

Formally recognized as being of public utility in 1869, La Roche Posay became the first spa in Europe exclusively dedicated to skin disorders. The dermatological tradition at La Roche Posay spans five centuries and is based upon Selenium-rich spring water plus a unique store of knowledge and experience recognized the world over. And Napoleon, then General Bonaparte, on his return from Egypt at the beginning of the 19th century, had a thermal hospital built there to treat his soldiers’ skin diseases. Perhaps he marched from the thermal spring to Paris through this arch with his troops… than would have made an impressive photograph… had the camera been invented then!

So a lot has happened here and generations have passed through the portals… but the most I had to show for it on this visit was a couple of cars and cyclists… not even the usual milling crowds window-shopping with others sitting at café tables watching the world go by. In what context this image was used I have no idea… others of mine showing the famous spa buildings have been used several times around the world (although mostly for Polish and Russian publications). Maybe it was used alongside a spa image from another photographer? However, it was my second sale through Alamy and actually came within a couple of days of after my very first sale there… so I regarded the image subject as a gateway to success!

Licensed as Rights Managed by Alamy for reproduction in a weekly consumer magazine in the UK with a 500,000 print-run under my “a la France” pseudonym.

%d bloggers like this: