Those with very sharp eyes may have noticed a recent addition to my list of favourite blogs - Invisible Bordeaux. The writing, research and photography make the blog worthy of recommendation in its own right, but it is also interesting because it is...the first blog to be inspired by and to adopt my Invisible Paris concept!
When I began this blog I had a very specific idea in mind - that there are many blindspots in our lives, and that what we see and remember is not necessarily the reality of our surroundings. Paris is my home, and so had to be the subject of the blog, but it also seemed to me to be the archetypal city of the invisible, purely because it has such a strong visual identity, even for those who have never actually visited the place.
However, I have always thought that cities all over the world are the same in some respects. Those that live in them are trapped in routines, or become blinded by over-familiarity, whilst those that visit are restricted by obligations to follow safe paths trodden by generations of previous visitors and simply don't have enough time to become absorbed into the place.
If there is an Invisible City concept then, it is the desire to hunt out the overlooked, and to recount the forgotten stories of your environment. Above all, it is about being curious and keeping your eyes open (and making sure you always have a camera, a pen and some paper with you!).
Tim, author of the Invisible Bordeaux blog, and faithful reader of this blog since its inception, believed that the concept could be adapted to his city, and he has already found quite a stock of material. Already featured in just the first month of its existence have been a hidden milestone, the secrets of the city's tramway, a city-centre race track and a Thai restaurant that was previously a theatre...and a place that once hosted sessions of France's upper parliamentary house!
Although I have not actively sought out acolytes, I would be delighted if one day I could make a claim like that of Eric Tenin on his excellent ParisDailyPhoto blog - the blog that started the City Daily Photo community. Blogs need an audience to survive, and bloggers need support to continue producing material, and what better way to ensure this than through the creation of a community?
Long life to Invisible Bordeaux, and if anyone else thinks their city might be invisible, let me know!