It’s been 4 months since I left London, perhaps even more. It wasn’t a good time for pretty much anything, and that nothing was pretty much all that I’ve done. I arrived right before Christmas Eve and walked around that night. The people were different. Few were out because they wanted to. When people walked they looked like they had a goal: home.
People seemed trapped in this „outside” and they were looking forward to get inside, to spend Christmas together with someone that cared. One of probably the few nights when people agree, have a common goal and it’s not in the middle of a riot. The people that worked that night did not look happy. They didn’t say anything, but their look pretty much said it all.
The later it got the weirder you got for being out. The amusement park in Hyde Park was pretty much deserted. There were some people, more than on the streets, but there was this feeling I got that they won’t be there for long. The stalls were nearly empty and I think the sellers had the same thing on their mind.
We left the park.
The Underground is a completely different entity, as I’ve said so in a previous post. It’s big and impressive. It feels old and you can almost feel it. I bet that if the Underground could speak, it would have quite some stories to tell. The stations were not that full. This looked like a night when the Underground could have a little peace and quiet, and a well deserved one. There was a bit of sadness in the air, not at all a Christmas spirit. The Christmas spirit was inside people’s homes, not in the subway. The guitarist in Baker Street Station, while shredding like Steve Vai without breaking a sweat put a little drama to the whole scenario. Sherlock Holmes could not have have existed somewhere else.
One of the things that I like about photography, and art in general is that you don’t have to reflect reality through it. There’s a touch of reality, but the mood and context is created by you. No one sees what’s really beyond the frame. If there’s one square foot of light in a dark place, nobody has to know that that was a dark place. It’s all up to you.
What they do see beyond the frame is what they want to see. Or what you want them to see. As long as there’s a dialogue, that doesn’t really matter.
Somebody asked me why I didn’t take any black and white pictures. Black and white has its mood and its grain, but it really depends on the place. There are places that speak black and white and places that speak colour. London at night is one of those places that speak this language of colours for those that want to listen. Black and white would only make the night go dark.
We’re close to New Year’s Eve and it’s getting croudy. Oxford Circus is Europe’s busiest shopping street and now I see why. As I passed by bus there were thousands of people shopping. The traffic was jammed and all you could do was sit and watch. I got off the bus later than I’d normally get off, to avoid the crowd. Since I had nothing to do there was no hurry. There was no stress so I actually enjoyed the crowded street. I went for a walk in the City of Westminster in an area known as Soho. Soho still holds its charm, it’s not what it used to be, but it’s still unique. It was once a poor area in London, with pubs where writers and musicians used to hang out and all of the neighbourgood almost being destroyed by the plague. Now Soho is London’s Red Light District. Full of colour and mystique it’s got places where I’m sure not all people want to be seen. I kept that privacy and only took a few pictures trying not to step on anybody’s toes.
The two weeks have gone and it was time to say farewell. It should have been a little different, but surprises are one of life’s features.