Monday, March 7, 2011

street photography

Today, I escaped from Wimbledon for a couple of hours to go to the London Street Photography exhibition in the Museum of London (the new, or new-ish, Museum of London, that is - I remember the old one in Kensington Gardens, and chief among that, the scale model of the Fire of London.   There's probably something much funkier and multi-media to represent that now - I didn't, alas, have time to go to the ordinary history galleries.

The exhibition is excellent - street photography from the 1860s to now - the new stuff included a video with various current practitioners talking about their approaches, which was in some ways the most inspiring part.   And it was full of people - quite something, for a Monday morning - a combination of the relatively elderly ("oh, look - that could have been me - only they didn't really have urchins in Blackheath") and the art students.   I can't imagine that I was the only person rushing inspired out of the door to start shooting - as usual, quirky shop window, but also a follow-up to yesterday's phone boxes ...

... this Police Call Box is just for show, a historic artefact, the notice on it tells us, suggesting that we go off and use a public payphone.   But of course, the real reason for its obsolescence is walking past, clamped to this guy's left ear.   And yes, after hearing about people's shooting practices, I did lie in wait till just the right subject came along, as I did this morning, walking to the station: I just wanted one figure to balance the peeling and depressed facade of the local community centre (named after Cyril Black, a peculiarly loathsome Tory MP here when I was growing up).   I was very struck by one of the photographers - I think Matt Stuart, but I should check - saying how unforgiving color is for street photography.   If you have a great shot, but the color is wrong, you don't have a photo.   Here, the color is great ... but I was more after desolation than packed action, so I was hardly in danger of ruining anything.

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