He “has none don’t believe your eyes “. In the forest, a place, yellow and massive. Nothing to do with what usually fascinates Cédric Schell, a 25-year-old Alsace photographer devoted to the ruined fortified castles, located high in the northern Vosges. For four years, he has gone in search of lost buildings that he likes to sublimate taking pictures very early in the morning, when they are still covered with fog. “I’m often called the King of the Mist,” he smiles. Rocks, castles, clouds, leaden skies, fog, beautiful light. “I really try capture rare moments, that people are not used to seeing,” explains the image hunter. But in this whole the end of October, is a completely different subject that has honored his work as a semi-professional photographer, and therefore, in the light of these Alsatian landscapes that he loves so much. At the turn of a path, as if dropped from the sky, that of a yellow tram, dating from another time, long placed near a pond, out of sight.
Located “next to a path, not necessarily the most traveled in the sector”, towards “home” in Wissembourg, north of the Bas-Rhin, a stone’s throw from the German border. This meeting and photo posted on his Instagram account would “mark” his new career as a photographer. “A wonderful story, an upheaval in my life, because it’s not every day that we have so much media coverage, on TV, radio and newspapers in France, even in Germany, underlines Cédric Schell. I’m used to being alone in my castles, close to nature and at night, people talk about me as if I’ve discovered the treasure of the region! (laughter)”.
If you usually take photos for tourist offices, winter landscapes, museums or places accessible to tourists, it is this unusual photo of a tram in a forest that attracted attention, especially that of social networks.
“I had never heard or seen a picture of this tram. However, people have told me they’ve been through it fifteen times. To find something so unusual is still fantastic,” rejoices Cédric Schell, who took this picture when he was going to photograph a pond for the tourist office. “Sometimes you have to think outside the box to rediscover things like this, which you don’t expect. “Not hidden, easily accessible, but next to a road that doesn’t take you far, because there is no rock, no viewpoint”, explains the photographer.
A “devastating” message that lifts the veil
Shared for the first time on social networks, the photo of the tram taken in the middle of the day, without fog, was immediately a great success. An escape that aroused the enthusiasm of the media and finally made it possible to “recover the entire history of this discovery. Finally, it’s the story of the wagon that came back to me. Many people wondered why this wagon was in the middle of the forest and others gave me the answers. Former employees of Transport company in Strasbourg (CTS), streetcar enthusiasts messaged me. It is a 1908 tram, renovated as a wagon in 1930 for the end of its career in 1960, when Strasbourg got rid of all its trams. The tram was not yellow like that. Then it had to be repainted, says the photographer. Originally, it was a slight ocher color. »
Carried away by the interest in this “discovery”, Cédric Schell has returned to realize a series of photos, with his brand this time, the fog, but also with the help of smoke bombs. It was then that he received a “devastating” message. “One person told me the end of the story. It was his grandfather who brought the streetcar into the woods on a trailer in the 1960s.” The email recalled that some of the CTS streetcars had been “destroyed, burned, but others had been sold” to individuals. Buying a streetcar is what he had became the grandfather of the author of the message and “since the land belonged to him, like the pond he had opened for canoes, Cédric Schell continues, he used it as a shelter” for his fragile boats. The author of the message also recalled that “I played on the corpse, forty years ago, with the tram driver… The world is small, underlines Cédric Schell. It’s really something to be contacted so much. The story closes and answers are given that I didn’t think I had.”
For now, the wagon, which according to the author of the photo may be “a little too much media coverage”, remains in the forest, even if a certain museum in the sector seems to be interested in … also worry that it is subject to a some voluntary degradation, hoping that the forest is not finally closed in this last time travel.