I “borrowed” (stole?) today’s title from a photo blog that continues to have an important influence on me, and has raised some great questions and topics which have impacted the way I am learning to visually think about photography. The blog is called In Flow by the talented Norwegian photographer Otto von Munchow. Highly reccommended for anyone involved in creative pursuits or who just wants to explore new ideas.
Flow…. in London, the flow and tides of the Thames defines the city; its post codes, neighbourhoods, history, even the way people pronounce and use words, are defined in part by the Thames and one’s location in relation to its flow. For an inland city, flowing water has a powerful hold on the city. There is a little square, across from Borough Market, between some office towers and within sight of Tower Bridge, which is cross-crossed by sunken troughs of flowing water. I took a shot there several years ago which I turned into a photo-etching, and now I have returned to take more photos with the hope of making prints from them sometime soon. Please let me know what you think and how to improve!
I always love walking along London’s Embankment, across the Golden Jubilee Bridge and then down around the Southbank Centre (southbankcentre.co.uk). The Royal Festival Hall, National Theatre, National Film Theatre, impromptu music, skaters and street music – it is all there in full colour…except when it suddenly turns grey and drizzly. Then a monchrome mist descends and casts its damp gloom over everything. Londoners, being the hardy souls they are, don’t let a bit of grey get in the way of enjoying a Sunday afternoon out. Here and there, it is still possible to find pops of colour as people sit on benches facing the river and watch the boats go by. At the moment there is a special instalation of bright orange variations of park benches scattered around the Royal Festival Hall. Called Modified Social Benches (southbankcentre.co.uk/…/modified-social-benches-1001665) by the Danish artist Jeppe Hein (jeppehein.net) these variations on New York City urban architecture try to break the down “those behavioural patterns in public space, since even contact-avoiding people allow bodily closeness in limited space. With its modifications, the benches transform its surroundings into places of social activity and foster dialogue between the users and the passers-by.” (taken from the Southbank Centre website).
A bench’s influence on the interactions between people and their urban surroundings didn’t seem to be limited to the orange installations, other more traditional benches also serve their social purpose well…
I don’t think it is a real word, “Thamsing” so I will define my own invention (verb: going along, across or by the Thames River). The Thames runs through the heart of my favorite city, it delineates its history, its shape and its form. It defines the city’s residents; those living north or south of the Thames and the music of the speech they use.
During the summer (the same wonderful two weeks were I was taking a photo course at Central St Martin’s University of the Arts), I took the Thames Clipper (http://www.thamesclippers.com) towards Greenwich to see the two tall ships that came to visit. More photos of these magnificent ships forthcoming…. Along the river, with the changing tides and a stiff breeze, the water was full of lovely ships and the shores full of people taking in the sights.