We all have heard the phrase "a picture is worth a thousand words." A fellow photographer brought this idea to mind recently. In particular, when she saw this photograph, she said that it reminded her of a poem, "Musée des Beaux Arts" by W. H. Auden. Not being an English major, I had to look it up. The poem is compelling and the story behind it intriguing. Auden's words were inspired by a painting by Pieter Bruegel, "Landscape with the Fall of Icarus." In brief, the theme of the painting and the poem is that the world goes on in the face of suffering.
While I may have seen the painting in a book, I certainly was not thinking about it when I took this photograph. At that moment, I did think how sad it was for the owner that his fine bicycle had been damaged, the remains left chained to a post along a street in France. Yet no one seemed to take any notice of the vandalized bike. I wanted a photograph that contrasted the broken bike with the nonchalance of the city around it. So I stationed myself on the opposite side of the street and waited for the moment when a passing bicyclist was positioned just right. A presumably local resident was fortuitously sitting nearby. The result captures in a mundane way the essence of the poem and the painting. Thus with some artistic license, I will call this "Icarus' Bicycle."