some words about …

stone, wood, metal, glass, brick, concrete, plastic … paint, varnish, graffiti …

faded, glossy, grimy, smelly, scratched, scored by use, surfaces forgotten, taken for granted, evoking stories, remembered, made visible again.

my walking … fast, intentional routes through the city, to get there, to be somewhere, at the library or the archives, the market, the café, at home wherever that is this time, a different centre point each time …

but to drift, perhaps even to walk more slowly, that is something else, a practice that has shown me how to vary even the most purposeful of expeditions, to turn left instead of right, to look down or sideways instead of up or straight ahead, to take the long way round.

just passing through, repeatedly, gradually learning the textures of the streets, reading what is present, hinted at, absent …

with a small point-and-shoot camera in my pocket, even walking fast, allowing time to stop for five or ten seconds to take the shot I saw from the corner of my eye, not thought about, just done, preserving textures, colours, fragments, traces.

a different exercise to the photographs I take for my historical research with the big DSLR, those are photographs crafting a specific architectural and topographic record, demanding hours of concentration in the field.

as I teach myself the city, and teach myself to see the city, these other photos, momentary glimpses taken by chance, are my accumulating record of the small details that catch my eye in the complexity and density – historical, physical, social – of the city.

 

 

 

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