UP, UP AND AWAY
Ballooning over Bagan was my first, and exhilarating experience in a hot air balloon. Floating effortlessly over such breathtaking scenery is certainly something I will never forget.
Somehow, balloons and ballooning always seem to have appealed to me; from that bright red, bunny shaped balloon proudly carried as a child (until all hell broke loose when I let go of that fated string...and NO, my parents were NOT going to buy me another one...- all been there, right...?!) to the multicolored hot air balloons dotting the winter skies at the International Ballooning Festival of Château d'Oex (an important ballooning event taking place in the Swiss mountains every end of January).
There are many similar ballooning events worldwide; another famous one being the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
And Fiesta it is indeed, with so many wild balloons...in all shapes and sizes; crazy balloons which can now be seen everywhere. Ballooning creativity knows no boundaries!
|And the cow jumped over the |
Hey! Even those good old floats, (yup...I put them in the balloon category too...) come Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, have evolved quite a bit since it all began in 1924...
|Pinocchio - 1937|
|Spider Man - 2013|
But, back to beginnings...
Man has always dreamed of flying like a bird, and after Icarus's dramatic attempt, the first to make this dream possible were two french brothers; Jean-Michel and Jacques-Etienne Montgolfier when they invented the hot-air balloon, or Montgolfière (in French) in 1782. The first official 'flight' by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François-Laurent d'Arlandes was then recorded on November 21st, 1783 in Paris.
|'Le Reveillon' - A reproduction of the Montgolfier Brothers' Balloon.|
This extraordinary event triggered a kind of 'Balloon-mania' and very soon, balloons were depicted everywhere...
|Painted Fan - Versailles 1783|
|'Mode aux Ballons' - the balloon craze - between 1783 and 1785|
|18th Century plate|
|Marble 'Pendule à la Montgolfière' - 18th Century - Musée des Ars Décoratifs - Budapest|
But, as with all things IN fashion, they eventually go OUT of fashion and that was the case around 1785 when this craze for everything 'balloonish' faded.
Faded, but not forgotten! Countless are the examples of our fascination for balloons and ballooning...
Let's float over to the 20th Century and head to Paris, shall we, on September 30th, 1909 to be more precise, for the very first Air Show, held in the Grand Palais.
This extraordinary photograph was taken by Léon Gimpel in Autochrome Lumière, a technique developed by the Lumière Brothers and perfected by Gimpel, enablying him to take 'instant' color photographs. He also used zeppelins and balloons to photograph scenes from above; thus being the precursor of 'aerial' photography!
Balloons and Ballooning also inspired fashion, both then and now...
|'Balloon sleeve' black lace coat - Madeleine Vionnet 1937 - photographed by Horst|
|Dress with 'ballooning sash' - Balenciaga - Vogue October 1951|
|'Balloon skirt' - Dior Couture - Spring/Summer 2008|
|Wearing Phileas Foggs' hat - Naomi Campbell - Vogue March 1998 - photographed by Ellen Von Unwerth|
|Custom 'balloon skirt and basket' designed by Janine Trott - Vogue UK 2007 - photographed by Tim Walker|
|Louis Vuitton window display - Paris - Summer 2011|
|Vogue China - April 2009 - photographed by Solve Sundsbo|
And when 'balloon fashion' meets 'balloon art', you get these extraordinary 'balloon dresses' by 'balloon artist', Rei Hosokai for "Daisy Balloon".
Amazing right - but better stay away from anything sharp...
Staying on the subject of art; balloons have inspired such artists as Jeff Koons for example...
|"Balloon Flower" - Jeff Koons - NYC|
|"Balloon Dog"(Orange) - Jeff Koons - sold at Christie's 'Post-War and Contemporary' Auction Sale, November 12, 2013, for a record US$ 58.405.000 ! - Not such a 'dog' after all ...|
|"Red Balloon" - Paul Klee 1922 - Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum - NYC|
Balloons and Ballooning have also inspired design...
|Montgolfière Wallpaper decorates the staircase of the Hotel St.James - Paris|
|The "Montgolfière Mystérieuse" Ring - Van Cleef & Arpels - ring from "Les Voyages Extraordinaires Collection" inspired by Jules Verne's novel "Five Weeks in a Balloon" - "Cinq Semaines en Ballon".|
|"Malle Montgolfière" - Louis Vuitton Globe|
|Photos from the Louis Vuitton advertising campaign film "l'Invitation au Voyage" - 2012 -...|
|...filmed by Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin for Louis Vuitton, starring Arizona Muse - 2012|
|So light and fresh for Dior as photographed by Tim Walker|
|Novel by Jules Verne published in 1863|
Let's not forget the movies...
|Adaptation of Jules Verne's novel in Irwin Allen's 1962 film|
Or this wonderful 34 minute short film by Albert Lamorisse in 1956, "Le Ballon Rouge". This film won the Oscar for 'Best Original Screenplay' and the 'Palme d'Or for short films' in the 1956 Cannes Festival.
|The story of a red balloon with a mind of its own, who follows a little boy around Paris...|
|...leading him into an amazing adventure|
Which may possibly, much later, have inspired the 2009 Disney/Pixar animated film "UP"...
Which may well, (more than possibly) have inspired American aviator and adventurer, Jonathan Trappe, in his various 'balloon' challenges...
First...in May 2010 when he was the first man to fly across the English Channel with a 'cluster of balloons' (that's right !!!... a CLUSTER, just like in UP...)
|UP, UP and AWAY with Jonathan Trappe|
Then...even more 'UP..erish'... in a house suspended under a CLUSTER of balloons in 2012, when he floated over the International Balloon Festival in Leon, Mexico.
Unfortunately, in 2013, his challenge to cross the Atlantic from Maine,USA, to Paris,FRANCE, was unsuccessful, due to uncooperating weather conditions. After flying (floating?) for 466 miles, (318 being over open water) the 370 helium-filled balloon operation had to abort. Trappe nevertheless does have his name down for ballooning posterity: he is the specialist in "Cluster Ballooning", the first person to cross the Channel and the Alps like this and also holds the Guinness world record for the longest 'Cluster Balloon' flight of all time.
Needless to say Jonathan Trappe will certainly attempt that crossing again...for when such big dreams drive you (float? you...?) the WILL definitely is the WAY! GO JONATHAN!!!!
Another dreamer (and descendant of a Swiss dynasty of scientists/explorers) is Bertrand Piccard, who, in March 1999, along with fellow aeronaut, Englishman Brian Jones, performed the 'first-ever-non-stop-around-the-world-in-a-balloon flight'!
Lifting off March 1st, 1999 from Château d'Oex, (if you don't remember Château d'Oex - you haven't paid attention... so it's back to the beginning of this post for you !!) their balloon, Breitling Orbiter 3, then landed in the Egyptian Desert on March 21st, 1999; 19 days, 21 hours and 47 minutes later. They covered a distance of 45.633 kms capturing a total of 7 world records along the way !!
A wonderful anecdote (and also ties up nicely with my post story) is that on board, the two adventurers carried a copy of Guy de Maupassant's novel "A Life" ( "Une Vie" - considered by Tolstoï to be the greatest french work after "Les Misérables", no less...), which had been inscribed by the author to Jules Verne, who had, himself, imagined such a flight in his novel "Five weeks in a Balloon"...(yes, remember the book photo included earlier in this post...? No!???... Man !!! You REALLY haven't been paying attention - scroll back up NOW ...please...). The book had been loaned to the pilots for good luck by the grandson of Jules Verne from the Novelist's personal library! Pretty cool, I think!
Thank heavens for dreamers. Some of man's greatest accomplishments have started with a dream...having faith, courage and determination (add a pinch of good fortune) can make those dreams come true...
|Children playing in a Temple - Myanmar|
|So dream big, little one, dream big...|
Reach for the sun, but don't burn those wings....
and whatever you do...
NEVER let go of that string!!!
A très vite....
credits:- wikipedia, pinterest, www.wedlux.com, www.stock-clip.com, www.sgmpohio.org, www.lustres.com,www.aufildescouleurs.com, www.loveisspeed.blogspot.com, www.instantluxe.com, www.vancleefarpels.com, www.noosfere.org, www.rkwblog.blogspot.com, www.journal.tdg.ch, www.vanityfair.com, www.honestlywtf.com, www.joyce.fr, chronicle books, www.mairie-annonay.fr, www.lecurieux.com, www.mariage-promo.fr, www.ladn.edu, www.vogue.com, www.funnystack.com, www.mariekevanasperen.wordpress.com, www.clusterballoon.com, www.01.seesaa.net, www.guzer.com, www.ellafridman.com, www.cinebel.be, www.dailynews.com, www.hotwallpaperz.com, www.sites.psu.edu, www.carnetdevol.org, www.ader-paris.fr.