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gapvic

Guiseppe

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gapvic   

(My facebook friends would have seen this, but I thought some of you might like this story too)

Guiseppe aka the Pigeon Man of the Pompidou Centre

On our first night in Paris we decided to walk down to the Seine. On the way, as we passed the Pompidou Centre, we noticed a very large flock of pigeons. It was strange because (a) when I had been there earlier in the day there were only a handful of birds and (b) these pigeons had an air of expectancy about them. Now these are not your average, friendly pigeons; these are scrappy little birds that would sooner poo on you than talk to you. They don't scatter around your feet begging for food but instead perch thickly atop the surrounding trees and buildings, peering haughtily over their beaks with yellow eyes at the people passing below. All of a sudden they took to the air, en masse, then swarmed about a hunched old man who had appeared pushing two trolleys. We watched as he proceeded to pull bags of wheat from the trolleys to scatter for his birds. Oblivious to everyone else, these strange birds were enamoured with the bent old man. I took some photos then we continued on our way.

Pigeon Man kept on popping into my thoughts throughout the next day; I wanted to photograph him again, to better try to capture the relationship he had so obviously developed with the birds. That night, armed with camera, we went back to the Pompidou Centre and waited with the birds for Pigeon Man to appear. Right on cue, at exactly the same time as the previous evening, he arrived. The birds were overjoyed. They left their lookouts and became a black grey mass surrounding him, some alighting on the convenient perch provided by his deformed spine. It was wonderful - hundreds of birds around him and on him as he tossed their wheat from bags pulled from his trolleys. When the wheat was gone, some of his birds landed on his arm and he hand fed them bread. He smiled at them; he murmured to them - his love for them was obvious...and as I photographed him an artist came, knelt at my side and spoke to me. He told me that Pigeon Mans name was Giuseppe, and that Giuseppe was homeless. He told me that every morning at 7am, and every evening at 7pm, Giuseppe comes to feed his birds. He told me that the birds are his family.

It was just like the fox in The Little Prince; Giuseppe had tamed them.

(and I'm not afraid to add that editing these photos brought a little tear to my eye. I hope you too can see how much he loves these birds).

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Edited by gapvic

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