Yesterday in Euston Road

Yesterday I met up with a friend in Kings Cross, and afterwards, what with the victoria Line being all over the shop, I walked along the Euston Road, to places where other tube lines could be easily reached.

Here are a few of the photos I photoed:

My usual preoccupations are on show. Signs (ph4 ph5), sculpture (ph5), things that look like they could be sculpture but are not, like scaffolding (ph8) and like those strange yellow things (ph7). There’s even a photoer photo (ph3), outside St Pancras. And a taxi advert (ph2, about how you can “ID yourself”.

ANPR, I now learn, refers to Automatic Number Plate Recognition, which it would appear that motorists don’t need to have explained to them. But what are the strange yellow things? Weights to stop the fences being pulled over, is my guess.

Plus, note the surveillance camera, top left, in the last otherwise oh-so-pretty photo.

More pleasingly, I like how that glass penthouse-like (pentoffice?) addition has been added to the slightly older brick structure (ph6). The opposite of roof clutter. A lot of architecture is about adding stuff to already existing buildings these days. Which makes a nice change from smashing everything down every time, which they of course still do a lot of.

Adding stuff includes adding paint, to an already existing building (ph1). That building always amazes me whenever I see it. It’s a bank. There seems to be an architecture rule that the more flamboyant the building, the duller the institution that occupies it. Vice versa often applies too, I think.

Food photos as prayers of gratitude

This from the American Spectator seems to me to be saying something rather true:

It is easy to be cynical. We might dismiss these photos as brazen self-promotion or a symptom of millennial self-absorption. Headlines like “Instagram Food Is a Sad, Sparkly Lie” and “Instagramming Millennials Are Burying the World in Food Waste” capture the standard sentiment. Slurs such as “foodgasm” and “food porn” often taint these photos with the suggestion of lechery. Perhaps, though, a more sincere explanation is possible. As odd as it sounds, I do not see pornography in these images. I find prayer.

I believe these pictures are a new incarnation of an ancient instinct: the ritual of tableside grace. Derived from the Latin gratia for “thanks,” grace is a specific type of prayer given before or after a meal to express gratitude and to invoke a blessing. It is an exercise in devoting reverential attention to life’s bounty, and through this enriched attention, achieving an expanded sense of belonging. “It becomes believers not to take food … before interposing a prayer,” Tertullian wrote in the third century, “for the refreshments and nourishments of the spirit are to be held prior to those of the flesh, and things heavenly prior to things earthly.” Grace is more than gratitude — it is gratitude ascendant, aimed above the earthly appetite toward a higher vocation. The Catholic Catechism defines prayer as “the raising of one’s mind and heart to God.” Thus grace gives our gratitude wings that lift the mind from the necessities of the flesh toward the nourishments of the spirit. For many people, photographing their entrées fills the same social role as grace: a ritual of aspirational attention that elevates bodily sustenance into spiritual refreshment through the simple power of a genuine “thank you.”

I often find myself describing my fellow digital photoers as “worshippers”. They see something which seems to them meaningful and express that feeling by photoing whatever it is. I do this myself of course, constantly.

On the other hand, this piece also helped me to understand the widespread annoyance at the way food photoing is such a big part of social-media-ing. Saying grace is fine. But it’s a shared moment for those present (God included, if you think He’s the one to be thanking), and then you get stuck in. Do you record this expression of gratitude and then expect your friends to listen to it? No.

But on the other hand, two of the things that twenty-first-centurions now have to learn are: not to pay attention to everything that your friends put out there; and: not to expect your friends to pay attention to everything that you put out there. If a friend posts lots of food photos and you think it’s too much, just pay less attention.

Also, this:

More about this wondrous concoction here.

And while I’m on the subject of food photoing, take (or not (it’s entirely up to you (if we are friends, our friendship will not be affected))) another look at what I think is one of my best-yet food photos, here.

Two more Oxo Tower views

Here are two Oxo Tower views, as photoed by me in July of this year.

And here are two more that I photoed from the same place at the same time:

On the left, the sort everyone does, and for very good reasons. On the right, one of my favourites that day, looking down to the Oxo Tower Pier.

LATER: And oh look, is that a Photoer I see at the far end of the Pier? Yes it is:

If I ever get another camera, I now intend that it will have an even zoomier zoom.

Please do not explain this T-shirt to me

Speaking of cats, as I just was – well, of one cat – here is another cat-related photo, of one of the many photoers I photoed ten years ago to-the-day yesterday:

Photoed at the north end of Westminster Bridge, with the trees of Parliament Square in the background.

I kept that one back for today. That T-shirt looks like she might even have made it herself.

Once again we see in action one of those ultra-cheap and ultra-cheerful digital cameras, of the sort that has now been pretty much completely swallowed by the mobile phone.

Photoers – Westminster – ten years ago today

Quota gallery time:

This photos were all photoed in a regular stamping ground of mine at that time, outside Westminster Abbey and then on into Parliament Square and the across Westminster Bridge.

This being a quota gallery, just to have something up here today, my thoughts on these photos will be brief. I have two.

First, no mobile phones. Mobile phones for photography had already arrived, but they had yet to drive out all those little old digital cameras, of the sort we still see in many of these photos.

Second, my own camera was pretty rubbish. Rubbish, given how I used it, and certainly compared to the ones I have enjoyed since, which I used in exactly the same way but with better results. The photos are okay from the composition point of view. I only cropped a couple of them, and that was only to avoid displaying recognisable faces. But too often, the focusing is just too, well, unfocused.

As you can tell from the umbrellas in the very first photo, it wasn’t that bright a day. I love brightness. Photography is light. Well, it is for me.

Quota gallery – June 3rd 2009

Indeed. I did quite a bit of work on another posting today, about scaffolding and video cameras and suchlike. But it’s not finished yet, and I don’t like to rush what I say about scaffolding.

So here are twenty photos I photoed beside the River, just over ten years ago:

The second one is no ordinary building site. That’s the Shard.

The scaffolding in front of the BT Tower is, I’m pretty sure, the beginnings of what is now Blackfriars Station.

Most of these scenes are of things that won’t happen again. But the Blackfriars ghost columns are still there, exactly as shown.

Photography is light.

Selfie couple on the South Bank last Sunday

As already recounted, I photoed many photos, on my walk back home from seeing Michael Jennings last Sunday.

Here is a little clutch of photos I photoed of a couple who were doing a selfie session:

Just about discernible the background there is HMS Belfast, the WW2 battleship that is now permanently parked on the south bank of the Thames, just upstream from Tower Bridge.

I love how the lady does a variation of the selfie hair pat, only this time she was making minute adjustments not to her hair but to her hat.

This is when doing “gallery” of this little clutch of photos is especially helpful, or so I hope. You can click quickly through from one photo straight onto the next photo, and spend no more time on these photos than you choose to.

A cricket fan photoer photos Tower Bridge

My walk back from Bermondsey yesterday soothed me in many ways. During the last few days I had been worrying that wandering about photoing had been losing its charm for me. Something to do with the social isolation of it all, and the deepening fear, as you get older and more fragile, of making enemies. Also, the sheer effort. Well yesterday was an effort. But the charm was as real as ever, and I made no enemies at all that I was aware of.

One photo, for me, summed it all up, combining as it did and does two of my greatest enthusiasms, photoing photoers, and cricket:

So much for the photoing. Now look at his hat:

ICC stands for International Cricket Council, and the ICC CWC is the Cricket World Cup, now being contested here in the UK. This hat is adorned with the heraldry of all the teams in this tournament. You can only see some of these teams, but so I assume. The tiger would be Bangladesh. The silver leaf is New Zealand. The crown and three (rather indistinct) lions is of course England. “Sri Lanka Cricket” speaks for itself. The green and yellow shield must be South Africa, because that’s the South Africa flag above it. The other five teams involved in this “CWC 2019” must be on the other side.

None of which I realised at the time. Such is my eyesight that all I thought I was photoing was a photoer wearing a elborately decorated hat of some kind. I only realised what the hat was about when I got home.

Anyway, my point is that while I was taking my walk, England were playing against the hitherto unbeaten Indians in this Cricket World Cup. England were widely spoken of as favourites to win this tournament, until the tournament actually began and England proceeded, in among winning several other games quite well, to lose to Pakistan, and then to Sri Lanka, and then to Australia. Losing to India would almost certainly have meant England failing to reach the semi-finals in their own tournament. Again. So, yesterday was a very big deal for England cricket. I spent my day alternating between doing my business in Bermondsey with Michael J and having a walk and a drink and another walk with Michael and then making my way back home while all the while photoing, and: keeping up with England’s progress on my mobile phone.

England did well. They batted splendidly, especially at the start of their innings, not least because of the return of the great Jason Roy. And they set a target they would probably be able to stop India chasing down. And sure enough, they did stop India chasing it down. It was tense, but it all ended happily. The Indians were not that bothered because they are almost certainly through to these same semi-finals already, barring implausible mathematics concerning scoring rates, and them losing their last two games.

England still might not make those semi-finals, if they lose to New Zealand on Wednesday, as they well might. But nevertheless, this was a most happy day, and the above photo is a most happy souvenir to remember it with.

My only regret is that there is nothing to be seen on the screen of the mobile phone that the photoer I was photoing was photoing with.

Closing scenes

Today I paid a visit to Michael Jennings, so that he could help me keep my mobile phone going, and so I could talk about a couple of blog improvements of the sort I’d like if they are doable. Our business concluded, we walked to a nearby pub, had a drink, and then continued walking through Bermondsey in the direction of the Shard, the City, and generally in the direction I had in mind to go on my way back home. We went our separate ways in Bermondsey. But such was the weather that rather than seek public transport, I continued walking, along the river and all the way to the Hungerford footbridges and Embankment tube station.

Not surprisingly, when I got home I was no state to do any elaborate blogging.

Instead, a few photos taken towards the end of my odyssey:

First, a view of the Wheel with an outcrop of the Queen Elizabeth Hall in the foreground.

In the second, we see a guy doing a video while skateboarding, under the QE Hall. What my photo doesn’t show is how fast he was going. How fast was that? Fast.

Finally, a couple of crowd scenes, photoed from the downstream Hungerford footbridge, of a crowd of people in a boat, and then of a crowd of boats, with a crowd of Big Things behind.

That’ll have to do for today.

Singapore architecture

Recently I have become included in the Libertarian Boys Curry Night gang. I know them all. I just hadn’t been having curries (or in my case biryanis) with them every now and again, until rather recently.

During the latest such Curry Night (at an Indian Diner near to me (which turned out to be a good choice (I had a biryani))), one of the Boys showed me some photos of Singapore he’d taken with his mobile, of that huge thing that looks like a set of cricket stumps, for a game of cricket played in hell and painted by Bruegel.

I said, send me one of those, and he did, twice:

I show these photos here, because whatever you think of this Thing, it is certainly of architectural interest, in a misshapen and off-putting sort of way (or so I think).

But more, I show these photos because they actually are rather informative, especially the one on the left. That one especially shows context, in the form of nearby places and other nearby buildings. In general, you get a feel for what sort of place Singapore is.

In Real Photographer photos, you get buildings like this looking super-cool and super-glamorous, in other words not how they actually look like when you get there.

I’ve said it before and will say it again now. Real Photographers photo photos that are super-nice. Amateur photoers often photo photos which tell you more about what a place is actually like. So it is, I think, with these photos that my mate Tom took.

My low opinion of this Cricket Stumps Thing is perhaps shared by whoever compiled this list of 10 Super Cool Buildings in Singapore You Might Not Have Noticed Before, because The Stumps are not included. That’s because you’ve probably already noticed them, rather than because it’s ugly. But the implied point of the list is: we have other and cooler buildings, besides and unlike The Stumps.

One of the Cool Buildings in this list is something called the “Interlace” Apartments, which is that pile of blocks of flats, all rectangular and each very boring, but piled up like a child’s set of big wooden bricks, all at angles to each other. There’s a photo of this Pile of Bricks in the list, of course. But I prefer this aerial photo of it, that I found elsewhere, and which I’d not seen before:

Once again, you get context. So I’m guessing: photoed from an airplane by an amateur photoer.

Tom’s photos of The Stumps were not photoed from an airplane, but rather from a nearby building. You can tell this because both were photoed from the exact same spot, but the clouds are different. Ergo, he was still when he photoed them.