The picture of Peace... but go "behind the scenes" with me today and learn about photography... especially les hazards du métier.

acariâtre (ah-kar-ee-atre) adjective

    : cantankerous

Before reading today's story, have a look at these synonyms for the French word acariâtre (and so get to know our harpy of a heroine): grincheux (grumpy), une chipie (a bad-tempered woman),

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A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

I did not develop a passion for photography until around my 37th year. And although I often feel uncoordinated in life, picture-taking calls for only two requirements: the ability to hold one's breath (in order to steady the camera lens) and a clear eye—one that is unencumbered by prejudice, so as to find the beauty in all things. The rest is beyond one's control, especially when it comes to subject matter: butterflies fly off, snowflakes settle, the sun sets, curtains close, makeshift models "make" to "shift"—or become altogether shifty... Read on in the following poem:


Photographing the Natives
(or Les Hasards du Métier)

Wandering through an alpine village, my camera hanging off my shoulder like a sac à main, I stop in my tracks, take up my lens, and snap!

It is an old shop sign that has attracted me this time. The shop, which went out of business in the last century, lives on in spirit thanks to the colorful signboard which was never taken down. On closer look—behind a closed window (just above the sign) and hidden by the sun's reflection—an object suddenly comes into view. A little commotion ensues, when next the fenêtre flies open and out pops a particularly perturbed paysanne.

The wizened woman wags her finger at me.
"Mais, Madame," I assure her,
"I am not the paparazzi!"

Pourtant, with a puff and a hiss
I am abruptly dismissed...
as Madame draws her lace curtains to a contemptuous close.
And I am left standing with my camera still stuck to my nose.


:: Le Coin Commentaires ::

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French Vocabulary & Sound File

Download Acariatre or Download MP3

C'est devenu un vieillard acariâtre, misanthrope, malade, alcoolique, qui ressasse sans cesse des souvenirs qu'il est bien l'un des rares à encore posséder. He became an old cantankerous man, a misanthrope: sick, alcoholic, one who turns over in his mind, unceasingly, memories that he is one of the few to possess. ("Derrière le miroir d'Henscher" LeMonde.fr)

(Help! Can someone do a better translation than mine...? Thanks for adding your translation to the comments box!)

le hasard du métier = job hazards
le sac à main = handbag
la fenêtre* = window
le paysan, la paysanne* = country person
mais, madame! = but, Madam
pourtant = nevertheless

*missing from the sound file...


Photo by Jackie Espinasse, 12-years-old.

A Day in a Dog's Life... by Smokey "R" Dokey

Eep eep ooh ray! as the French say. Ma and I are literally jumping for joy now that that family is back from vacation and we are back from Le Mutt Motel! Man, was that a noisy place! Thankfully Ma (picture left) and I got to share the same quarters, just next door to an old hunting dog. Two rooms down from us there was a singing spaniel, who belted out the blues.  (Never heard anything like it before!) Also, there were 4-week-old puppies belonging to the mistress of the Mutt Motel! This meant I got to play "senior chien" for the first time since I was born, back in August... I had fun showing the little guys the ropes (even if I tripped over a few in the process! Talk about crest-fallen.)

That's all for now. Ma and I are feeling jet-lagged, never mind we only traveled to the next village.



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