Thursday, February 22, 2018

Keeping Your Hand In?

This is one of my favorites.

Several people have suggested, kindly, and with good intentions, that I work on improving my photography skills.  They're absolutely right.  I've been telling myself this for years, and maybe this year I'll buckle down to it.  My problem is that I don't take any of what I do here too seriously.  I can't imagine leaving the house without some kind of camera, but mostly I take pictures just to remind myself of what I've seen.  I never think of myself as a photographer.  New York is teeming with truly fine photographers - I'm lucky enough to know some of them - and I never aspire to have even one ounce of that talent or dedication.  Ditto writing.  Part of this is cultural genetics - growing up in a country where you never embarrassed yourself by looking as if you were trying too hard.  Part of it, sadly is a character flaw - a underdeveloped sense of ambition.  Part of it is knowing, all too well, one's limitations.  But that's not all of it.  The pleasure for me is in the recording, not in how something is set down. Though I've set a mostly daily routine on the blog, I rarely linger long on posts. I'm mostly concerned with things I notice when I'm out walking. In training myself to see, and looking for things that might otherwise go unnoticed and lost.  Much of this is mundane, but I'm all for the rescue of the minor detail.   Look carefully, and even a familiar place changes every second. Each time you walk a street it's rearranged itself.  If I've captured a few of shimmers of movement, I'm happy.

Of all the blogs I've read, my absolute favourite is Spitalfields Life, a beautiful portrait of London's East End, past and present.  It's been around since 2009, and is written daily.  I only discovered it fairly recently. I can't imagine the time and dedication that goes into Spitalfields Life.  The writing is of such fine quality -  tender, modest, discriminating prose.  I urge you all to take a look, whether you have a connection to England or not.  You'll fall under The Gentle Author's spell.

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