Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Fydell House, Boston

click photo to enlarge
I don't watch a great deal of television so my observations on the medium are not as well-informed as they might be. However, it's my feeling that one of the mainstays of recent years - the house makeover programme - seems to be in fairly steep decline. Apart from the grinning presenters with their mock bonhomie and ill-timed, over-exuberant hand gestures, can there be anyone who is lamenting the passing of this drivel, the audio-visual equivalent of food bulking agents?

Unfortunately the pressing need to find programme formats to fill the ever increasing number of channels means that equally tawdry replacements are already filling the airwaves. As I scan the listings looking for the odd film or two I come across such titles as The Great British Bake Off, Come Dine With Me, and Jedward Let Loose. The synopses of these programmes suggest they are every bit as mind-numbing as those they replace, and to call their underlying ideas threadbare is to imply that there was something of substance that has been worn out in their gestation: the fact is they are completely bereft of any redeeming features. And then, lurking in the listings, sandwiched between the soaps, I came across what must be the successor to the house makeover series. It is called DIY SOS, and as far as I can make out involves "experts" helping a DIY householder who has ruined his property (perhaps by following the ideas in an earlier house makeover programme!) to put it to rights. Televisual tripe it may be, but even I can see that the concept is brilliant: you devise programmes to encourage viewers to trash their houses whilst thinking they are making improvements and adding value, then you come up with another series that shows these poor saps being helped to sort it all out.

I was reflecting on these things as I photographed the staircase of Fydell House, Boston. This early eighteenth century building, possibly by William Sands of Spalding, is one of the town's finest. Its main staircase has walls and ceiling decorated with plaster moulding and stucco panels and it is lit by a tall, arched window. It occurred to me, as I gazed at the two hundred year old decoration, that doing a job well and sticking with the original design long enough for it to have passed the point of being "out of fashion" and to have become plain "old", is much better than frequent cheap makeovers designed to show how up-to-date you are. I used the LX3 for this photograph, and applied a sepia tint to a black and white conversion.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Lumix LX3
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 5.1mm (24mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f2
Shutter Speed: 1/60
ISO: 80
Exposure Compensation: -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On