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July 30, 2010

A Snap from London

(click for larger size)

As a Friday afternoon break from the usual, I thought I’d share a photo I snapped during my week in London at the end of June/beginning of July. I don’t in any way, shape, or form consider myself a photographer, but I do love the medium (as any Bag reader would know); my wife, and my son who still lives at home, had just gotten me a “real” camera to replace my old and near-broken down point-and-shoot; and I was fascinated how London seemed like an ethnic and racial melting pot, with a keen interest (especially in the art and theater going on) in race.

I took this picture at the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane while graduate students were setting up what looked like an enormous thesis show. (I found this link.) I just wandered in off the street, feeling completely at home from my years as a shrink at a college of art and an architecture school here in L.A..

Unfortunately, I don’t know the name of the student who took these photos, but I was really struck by the portraiture, in the tension and the balance — which I could feel in the city — between similarity and difference.

  • bill

    I’m troubled by this pairing. It seems to say that the same environment (lighting, setting, composure) that favors White beauty is unfavorable to Black, almost that Blacks are “lost” in a White world. It seems to be an apology for separate but (un)equal. Please, please show me I’m wrong.

    • Stan B.

      Bill- Remember that you’re looking at a low resolution jpg on a monitor taken of a photograph (under glass) that doesn’t even take up half of the entire image area… In other words, you’re looking at a very poor reproduction (the original probably taken with a very high resolution large format film camera) of an image without all the nuance, subtlety and well, grandeur that the original is made to deliver. It is often those exact and very demanding subtleties (that only larger formats can deliver and portray) that can make or break such a photograph- particularly when it comes to how it is lit. There’s simply no way you can get a viewer’s first hand experience at a gallery from a snapshot on a screen.

    • Stan B.

      Bill- Then again that may exactly be what the photographer was trying to portray- I wouldn’t venture a clue without seeing much more of the work, preferably in original prints.

  • Stan B.

    A native of New York (perhaps the “original” and most famous of melting pots), I remember being quite amazed when I first walked the streets of London- not only did various races work together, they also drank and socialized together to a degree I had never witnessed back home.

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