Wednesday 21 October 2009

City sky

I like this photo, taken on the busy main road through the part of London where I live, because it symbolises in a small way what has made me come to terms somewhat with the din, filth, chaos and constant overstimulation of the big city, against which for so many years I held myself tense and rejecting - and the significant role that photography has played in that process.

If anyone had told me, down all those long years: "but, look, there is also so much in the city that's quirky, interesting and beautiful - many people just as sensitive as you find as much here to love as you find to hate", I'd have known what they said was true in theory, but it just wasn't what I perceived every day.

Nothing has changed, except my perception. Maybe age and maybe cultivating inner stillness, and almost certainly looking through the camera's lense, have finally brought me to see more - more details, different meanings, different perspectives from the obvious. Not all the time. There are still days when I feel overwhelmed and angered by the crowds and the mayhem. But enough to make a difference.

Small things, mostly, like this off-kilter detail above the busy street, are enough - if I really look at them - to stem the furious onslaught of ugliness, to break open the stiff rejection that only serves to strengthen and solidify that ugliness. Just a crack to see out of is sometimes enough to change the whole view.


maria said...

I would have never guessed from the photo that it was shot in a busy city. It suggests vast open spaces, emptiness, and peaceful silence. It is wonderful that you have been able to not only capture this stillness in your photo, but also experience it in your life!

Peter Clothier said...

Another lovely picture, Jean. Your text provides a wonderful complement. You have put some of my own perceptions nicely into words. Is the growing number of years I carry around with me? That's a part of it. I think a big part, though, for me, is the gift of a meditation practice which allows me to put my own, often silly judgments into a larger, quieter picture.

Bill said...

I'm thinking that tree is loving that sky. Moving.

steve said...

Just reread this and your recent Vita post--how beautifully you're writing these days!