Thursday, May 21, 2009

Wells next the Sea and Wilde

click photo to enlarge
"I don't desire to change anything in England except the weather."
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Irish playwright, poet and author

The quotation above is one of the less memorable of the many quotations by Oscar Wilde. It repeats a feeling about England's weather that many English people and visitors to these islands share, but with which I strongly disagree. Elsewhere in this blog I've written about the pleasures of living with weather that is rarely settled, particularly if you're a photographer. Today's photograph was taken in early May, when these 10 beach huts at Wells next the Sea, Norfolk, along with most of the other 190 stretched along the North Sea coast, were uninhabited, the strong wind and scurrying clouds making the sea's edge a place for cagoules, hats, and brisk walking. During my April visit they were busy, and a few days after I took this shot they were, doubtless, thronged with owners soaking up the sun and making the most of the location.

But, since I've written about these huts alongside an image taken on my first visit, I'll return to Oscar Wilde. I have the feeling that, as with many brilliant people, he's not the sort of person you'd like to spend much time with. However, there's no denying that his brand of egotism, vanity, astuteness, insight and wit has its appeal. Here's a selection of some of my favourite quotations. Anyone who isn't familiar with the writer can easily find hundreds more on the internet.
  • "I have nothing to declare but my genius." (allegedly said at Customs when entering the United States)
  • "There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it."
  • "America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between."
  • "What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing."
  • "I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I'm saying."
  • "Nothing that is worth knowing can be taught."
  • "Popularity is the one insult I have never suffered."
  • "Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter."
  • "I can resist everything but temptation."
  • "Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go."
  • "Be yourself: everyone else is already taken."
  • "Quotation is a serviceable substitute for wit." (hence me quoting Wilde today!)
photographs & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 110mm (220mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/160 seconds
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On