I think this is an amazing photo, and not just because I happen to be obsessed with the phenomenon of mass digital photoing. I think I’d love this photo however my interest, or lack of it, in photoing, or for that matter in cricket, might have developed. I think it really tells you something about the job of being an elite sportsman:
What this is is the moment when cricket super-legend Sachin Tendulkar stepped out of the privacy of his changing room to walk out onto the pitch in Mumbai, to play his very last innings in test match cricket.
Others admired this photo very much also. It was the MCC-Wisden Photograph of the Year 2013. I was ignoring Twitter then, which is why I missed it back then. If I’d seen it, I’m sure I’d have noticed it.
Came across this in the New York Times, New York being where this double sculpture is to be seen, or was in January of last year:
The internet wander that took me to these sculptures began with the Diamond Geezer, who, in this posting, says:
Mon 16: A sculpture of a dog and a rabbit on a bike has appeared at Canary Wharf, entirely off the radar of the usual websites and social media influencers who’d normally be going nuts over it (because nobody’s getting out and about any more).
That got me to Gillie and Marc, who made this double thing. There I saw a photo of a sculpture of a pack of photoer dogs could learn no more about that there, so I did an image search, and that got me to the New Yorker piece linked to above, with the above photo at the top of it.
The reason I was so glad to see this photo was: I was there! I would have seen this! And I am delighted to see my high opinion of this innings of Sanga’s agreed with by other Surrey fans.
I didn’t photo that particular incident, and if I had it wouldn’t have come out nearly as well as the photo above, but I did photo lots of other photos that day, of which one of my favourites was this, also of Kumar Sangakkara:
A photoer like me cannot compete with the Real Photographers when it comes to on-field action, several dozen yards away. So I made a point of photoing Sanga from close up, after the game was done and won.
I’m working on a slightly more complicated posting, using photos I took at the top of Tate Modern, on June 22nd 2018. But I don’t want to be hurrying that posting, so in the meantime, to get things started here today, here’s another photo I photoed on that visit:
I like how we can see the details of his rucksack straps. I like his hair, a lot. I like how you can recognise St Paul’s, even though St Paul’s is out of focus.
But, I love the fingers of his left hand. That’s a classic digital photoer thing. At all contortional cost, those fingers must not get in the way of the camera. So, he does that absurdly exaggerated thing, to make entirely sure.
Yes, in February 2011, I was photoing butterflies, in shopwindows:
And yes, Harrods.
There’s another art that must surely have become a bit more elaborate since the arrival of digital photography. If your window display s temporary, why bother to go to too much bother? But if you can easily go snap and make it rather more permanent, then you’ll surely bother that little bit more.
One of the better talks I have ever given concerned the impact of digital photography, and in that I recall mentioning someone who used digital photography to “collect”, to so speak, butterflies. Real ones. By photoing them rather than by stabbing them with pins. If I’d thought of shop-window displays when preparing that talk, I might have mentioned them also, along with graffiti and ice sculpture.
I like this photo, which I photoed in the summer of 2013, somewhere in the vicinity of Victoria Station, Victoria Street, or some such place:
I like it for lots of reasons, including that it is a fine example of the modified cliché photo. What could be more banal than a bloke photoing a guardsman, in the Buckingham Palace part of London? Yet the manner in which this scene is presented is most unusual.
Like I say, I like it. But I don’t understand it. How – and for that matter why – was that effect created, behind an office door of impeccable dullness and insignificance? They are clearly not shadows of an actual photoer and an actual guardsman, standing behind me as I photo, because where is my shadow? Are the photoer and the guardsman cardboard cut-outs? If so, the cardboard of the guardsman’s bayonet is very thin and vulnerable.
Are these just big bits of paper, stuck on the inside of the windows? Is it that straightforward? But if so, how come the shadows of the two guys seems of the same sort as the shadow of the two poles with the rope hanging in between them? Which appears to be a real shadow of a real thing, see below the shadow.
Are the two guys 3D sculptures? But if so, why? Why go to all that bother in such a place?
And what is that strange ghost-like thing, just to the right of the photoer?
I like puzzle photos, but I prefer it when the puzzle is soluble.
On the left, the winner of the Mary Wollstonecraft memorial competition. On the right, the runner-up.
I learned about all this from Mick Hartley. Here‘s what Hartley says about the Maggi Hambling winner, and here‘s what he says about the Martin Jennings runner-up.
My only strong opinion is that the Maggi Hambling one looks so tacky. Like something you’d (actually not) buy, for ten quid, in a “gift” shop. Hartley says that Maggi Hambling’s design is “about Maggi Hambling”. But it is hardly even about that. It’s just some banal 3D picture of a conventionally pretty woman with no clothes on, at the top a pile of stuff.
Part of my irritation is indeed that Maggi Hambling breaks the conventions of such statues. The usual statue of someone is a likeness of them, fully clothed. But that’s a pretty good convention, I think. The statue needs to look the way whoever it was looked, at their best and most characteristic. If they did a particular job, they need to be wearing the uniform for that job.
Maggi Hambling is quoted by the Standard saying we’re missing the point. I get the point. I see what she was trying to do. And quite aside from the fact that it’s not a statue of Mary Wollstonecraft but instead of a generic naked woman, I just don’t much like what she ended up doing.
Yes, it’s 2017 again, April, and I’m on my way home after a hard afternoon’s photoing out east. I get to that moment when suddenly, snap, my energy is all gone, and I just want home. So I drag myself to the nearest rail station. And this time, that rail station was East India:
Something to do with the East India docks, I presume.
Why show photos of that? Well, London can’t be all spectacular Big Things and lavish world renowned river views. Much of the secret of great cities is the amount of humdrum and utterly replaceable stuff they contain, and replaceability equals growability. A city can’t be great if it’s not growing, and it can’t grow if everywhere in it is finished.
As for the architecture, if that’s the word, of places like this DLR station, that’s now reached that awkward spot of being too new to be old and picturesque, but not new enough actually to be new any more, like pop music that your elder brother likes.
Which means it’s architecture that nobody (apart from me) thinks worth photoing. People just use it constantly, and forget about it. But there it is. One day some of it will be old and picturesque, and there will be complaints about it being torn down to be replaced by further humdrummery, or perhaps by resplendent and finished Big Things.
Meanwhile, I find that such railway stations are not only deserving of themselves being noticed, but are often, because of being elevated (to enable their tracks to go over existing roads) very good spots for noticing other things. Like the Shard (8), or that building rather cheerfully tricked out in yellow, green and blue (7). The building in (4) was trying hard to look good also, even if I reckon it failed. Or how about that strange bus stop road colouring that looks like a carpet has been unrolled (6)?
I’ve never understood those strange rolls of wire that you see beside railways (11). Is that for if they find they need more wire, which they can then pull towards them through tubes? That would make sense.
I do understand selfies, and the hair pats that so often go with them (12). I reckon they were lining themselves up with the Shard.
Perhaps most diverting of all, to me anyway, is the contrast between the extreme fussiness and complexity of the main body of this thing (1) (2) (3), with all its “expressed” structure (think of the just-that-bit-earlier-than-this Lloyds building in the City), with the relative banality of what the fuss is all in aid of (5). The architects of these places had their heads full of bigger, more award-winning Things than they were allowed actually to build, as architect heads so often are.
Now, a London sunset photoed in 2016 starts to mean more, metaphorically, than it did, literally, at the time:
In 2016, this was just another evening with great lighting effects. But is there about to be a metaphorical sunset for London on a far greater scale?
Once again, cranes. And I love how the evening sun turns boring blocks into giant gold bars.
But will London go on being golden? Just how bad will the reckoning be, when the problem stops being how to end Lockdown and becomes how to pay the bill for Lockdown. I don’t doubt London’s future greatness. But how long will it take for that to become clear to all?
The first Lockdown I could take, given that I and most of my friends could just about afford to take it. The next one, the one now being threatened, is far more depressing to even contemplate, given than it has no business happening at all, and given that the people presiding over the current scaremongering are the very ones we will be depending on to get us back on track.