Strange how some scenes… a view from a certain angle, or a particular combination of light and shadow, etc… seem to draw the eye, fire the imagination much more than others. It’s as though they have some message to impart… in the words of a mate, they’re trying to “speak to us”.
Or maybe its just me.
For in the course of doing all this photography nonsense I’ve found there are some places, some particular views (admittedly, not all that many) that inevitably “hold” me. To the point where I seem to have become almost obsessed with photographing them.
It’s as though they possess some hidden or cryptic meaning that I can’t decipher. Yes, they “speak to me”. Problem is, I can’t quite sus out what they’re saying.
An example of exactly what I mean is, unsurprisingly, from one of my favourite haunts… The Bear pub.
There’s a particular scene… looking down the barroom, empty seats and tables on the right, light from the windows reflecting off the wooden floorboards… that never fails to ensnare me.
So many times have I photographed it, from different positions, from marginally different angles. In detail. Or wide-angle. In colour, and in black and white. Yet somehow I’ve never quite seemed to capture the image. I’m not even sure what “the” image is… simply assuming, possibly wrongly, that I’ll recognise it when I see it.
Or will I? Will it forever remain elusive, taunting and tempting… yet always just out of reach?
Meanwhile, I keep on shooting away. At the same scene. Boringly. Monotonously. No matter. It’s almost like an addiction.
Attempts maybe, invariably unsuccessful, to refine out the essence of what I’m seeing… to distil the spirit of the scene into a single definitive image. The image. If only I knew what the hell that “essence” is!
There seem to be a number of scenes at The Bear (what is it about that place?) that have the same effect, although the barroom is by far the most compelling. But The Bear’s not alone in exerting this strange attraction. And neither is it just certain static scenes.
Combinations of elements can do it for me (“to me”?) as well. Objects, lines, light, shadows; when brought together in a particular way will suddenly “click”. And, well, that’s exactly what I find myself doing with the shutter button… clicking it.
Most recent manifestation of this phenomenon was the other morning. The rising sun shining into the windows of an empty room on the first floor of a building, all the while shadows being cast by the building opposite.
There’s definitely something there, speaking to me so loudly. I just wish I could understand the language!
But perhaps this is all just as it should be. For were I ever to succeed in capturing those tantalising elusive images… the image… would the magic of such scenes then fade and die?