Saturday, November 04, 2006

Lamps and windows

click photo to enlarge
The other day I was in a shop looking at lamps. One of mine, bought about thirty years ago, is coming to the end of its natural life. Maybe I can repair it, I thought, or perhaps I should buy a new lamp - hence the visit to a lighting shop. Despite stocking lamps of many shapes and sizes there weren't many that took my fancy. Now that could mean that I'm hard to please, or that I've got clear ideas about what I want, or maybe, deep inside, I just didn't want to buy a lamp!

Then I noticed a group of quite traditional table lamps with bulbous bases and concave, probably silk, shades. They were quite nice designs, and I looked them over. One or two of them, I thought, would be OK. Then I looked at the prices - they were about four times the price I was prepared to pay! The shop keeper noticing my interest, and perhaps to justify the price, explained that the bases were glass, that the designs were by a particular, named, designer, and they were hand-finished. In fact, what he said had the opposite of the intended effect. I don't want a fragile lamp: it has to last. The lamps didn't look hand-made. I live in an industrial society and one of the advantages of the industrial process is high quality allied to reasonable price, so hand-made objects are of little appeal to me if they look like industrial objects! Where I wondered, was the industrially made lamp in this style? Doubtless the model range and pricing structure preclude such a thing. Needless to say, I haven't solved my lamp problem.

One of the downsides of the industrial process is that mass production can lead to repetition which leads to inhuman, boring design. That appears to be the case with this Blackpool hotel. Every room has a sea view, but I imagine every room is the same. And this particular elevation is deeply boring. But, when I scanned it with a long focal length zoom lens, the appearance of just one person at a window allowed me to create a reasonable photograph by placing him in the top corner. One can project all sorts of thoughts on to this image - loneliness, isolation, man against the machine, a statement on the modern condition - you'll have your own thoughts. I converted it to black and white because I seem to be in a black and white phase at the moment! And to emphasise the thoughts I have about this shot. But I'm not going to tell you what they are!
photograph & text (c) T. Boughen