The circular frame of this self portrait forms roughly  one- kilometer radius from the apartment where I lived over the past 12 months. This corresponds to the range of motion allowed t in France during the strictest weeks of COVID confinement. It also marks the usual range of my daily walks, which changed following the ebb and flow of energy induced by cancer treatment.

I have visited Montmartre many times over four decades since I moved to Paris for the first time as a young woman. But shen I settled into the neighborhood in June 2020, I had everything to discover. Now, I got a magnified, close-up view of the area whose winding streets changed once they were bereft not only of tour buses and the artists who propose to sketch visitors portraits, but of the hustle and bustle of locals rushing to work, to meet friends at a cafe, or queuing up in front of a theater.

Making a self-portrait in a silenced Montmartre corresponded to the state of consciousness of the quarter and the world. Confinement led individuals and the state to consider what was essential, or not. It encouraged exploring alleys and side streets. It remade one's personal map, turning it inside out. From centering home in a wide network of routes to head to work, events or friends across the city or beyond, it brought everything inward, to frame life within the limits of a walk, one's apartment, and the computer screen.

More soon.......


 © 2020 by Susan Ossman

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