Monday, November 14, 2011

Floral Street memento mori

click photo to enlarge
At the weekend, once again visiting London, we found ourselves on Floral Street. This narrow road is lined with what I'm told are representatives of the more expensive end of the clothing trade - Paul Smith, Ted Baker etc. I hadn't taken leave of my senses and gone there to buy anything; we were just using the street as a cut through to Covent Garden. But, not wanting to waste an opportunity for a photograph, I cast my eye about for subjects. The throngs of people and the single-track nature of the road made that somewhat difficult. However, when my companions went to look at some merchandise I took the opportunity to give photography all my attention.

As I sauntered along the pavement past a shop with shoes that combined eye-watering colour, ludicrous styling and stratospheric prices, I saw a small window. It didn't appear to be part of a shop and featured a spotlit skull with a necklace on a stand. I suppose it may have been some kind of retail premises with a sales pitch so subtle or so esoteric that it was only recognisable as such by the cognoscenti. However, this passing photographer immediately saw the window display as a memento mori placed there as a countervailing presence to the offerings of mammon that were all around. Not very likely you might think, but it was a basis for coming up with a shot. The one I arrived at has three subjects - the skull, a reflected man gazing at either the skull or the reflected me, and a passer-by - an arrangement that might prompt a few thoughts about what's going on in the image, and whether there is a connection between the subjects. Not my usual approach to picture-making and street photography isn't my usual style, but it was a bit of fun that made a few minutes alone pass quickly.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 65mm
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/40
ISO: 3200
Exposure Compensation:  -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On