That Which Is…London
“So word by word, and line by line,
The dead man touch’d me from the past,
And all at once it seem’d at last
The living soul was flash’d on mine,
And mine in this was wound, and whirl’d
About empyreal heights of thought,
And came on that which is, and caught
The deep pulsations of the world,
Æonian music measuring out
The steps of Time — the shocks of Chance -
The blows of Death. At length my trance
Was cancell’d, stricken thro’ with doubt.”
— ALFRED, LORD TENNYSON, In Memoriam
For a literature student, my first visit to London was a drug that left me feeling nervous, wondering is it me or the chemicals at work, intensity, revelation, creativity, time expanding and changing, feeling familiarity then sudden foreignness, my mother tongue — but not mine…it was a revelation in the fullness of its implication.
I felt among friends walking alone in the city and streets of Thomas Hardy, Dickens, Shakespeare, Pope, Byron, Wordsworth, Tennyson, Woolf, Rushdie, Rowling, Tolkien … I could go on …
I was truly overcome with the heft of the cultural references of my literary and pop culture education… and I am sad to admit that one of my first thoughts of the Thames, wasn’t TS Eliot, but of the Kingsmen, silently wondering if there may just be a spy-car-submarine speeding under the current of the Thames… I am ashamed but honest :)
I was so overcome with superficial, but resonant details that I felt blasted, awash in the middle of amazing street photography opportunities, landmarks and the fantastic beauty of snowfall in London. It was the sensation of drinking from a fire hose, overwhelming and unquenchable. As I encountered scene after scene in my walks, the feeling was growing in my mind, that this memory card was going to contain the best, most honest and beautiful photos of the London I was witnessing, an apotheosis of the beauty of London and my photography…
Now, as I sit at my computer looking at the hundreds of photos, I look, I keep looking at them, considering, wondering what did I see in that shot, how did it make so much sense in the moment and look like this on my screen today.
I actually did capture some great shots, but the number of portfolio images was far greater in my rhapsodic mood, than currently on my hard drive…and now…I have to go back to the place again…addicted, searching, looking to get that feeling again…certain if I had 48 more hours, I could get THAT shot.
Following the light, one day at a time. Cheers!