[ a p a ]

a passerby

"Spectator of a World Running Upside Down"


How could I ever forget this early summer two thousand eight? We were on vacation in Canada.

Mylene, her brother, her dad and I had gone camping by an isolate lake for a few days. Mylene had been the love of my life for the past six years already. We had met on a plane from Paris to Milano. One of these nice and romantic stories… We knew life would fly us threw time to our eighties, maybe our nineties. In fact Mylene kept on saying she would make it past a hundred. Little did we know.

Nothing would for ever be the same after this tragic Sunday on June 22nd 2008.

It was late afternoon when Mylene went on her own for a swim in that lake.

I’m no longer able to remember exactly how long after she left we noticed, but it was probably between tweety to thirty minutes. Mylene was no where to be seen. Therefore we started looking for her, but tragically after 20 more minutes of searching I found her body at the bottom of the lake. I pulled her out and we tried to rescue her, but it was too late.

Mylene had epilepsy and like many in her situation, she kept it to herself. She grew up believing that it was « safer » to hide her difference from the outside world in order to have at least one chance to fully live all her dreams and not be left aside. At 25 she was in complete denial of this part of her. Simply pretending it wasn’t there.

After this devastating experience, i felt totally helpless and consumed by sorrow. One day, i found my self shouting and crying so violently in front of a mirror, that for a few secondes I saw someone else. This feeling made me realize that we always see ourselves as pretty « sane-minded », but could it be that in some circumstances insanity is closer than we’d like to think?

A few month after Mylene died i started taking pictures of me standing upside down everywhere i went. My aspiration at that time was to attract the world’s attention in order to ask two simple questions. « Why some much intolerance to those who are different? » and « Why not look at things from new perspectives? ».

Hundreds of photos came out of this quite naive quest. Here are a few of them…


Xavier Escalere, passerby.