Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Tantalising glimpses

In my last job before retirement I had on occasion to visit other parts of the country. I was working for a newspaper and although I had no editorial input, it was considered that I should go along to the annual conference covered by the paper. This lasted four days (so it was necessary to stay in an hotel for the duration) and was a peripatetic affair. Newcastle, Scarborough, Leeds, Blackpool, Southport, Derby, Bristol, Bolton, Huddersfield, Cardiff . . . I've seen them all. It was following an unfortunate experience with the hotel at Cardiff that the editor and I decided we should change our system. Up till then the editor had selected the hotel, a little more scientifically than sticking a pin in a list, but without any real, personal knowledge. The Cardiff hotel was a definite let-down. After that, I went along to the conference town a few months ahead to check out the hotel we had chosen and to look at others if the first choice was unsatisfactory. Naturally, I made these trips alone.

Have you ever walked the streets of a strange town or city at dusk? Just at that time when it is dark enough for people indoors to switch on the lights but not dark enough to close the curtains? It's funny, I'm not a person to get homesick, but as I walked the streets of those towns to get a breath of air before dinner, I would feel a definite twinge. I missed my own town; I missed my wife even more - and I had only been away for little more than 24 hours! It was something to do with the time of day. I find even now I can get a sense of that feeling when I'm in France, have perhaps just driven to the supermarket and am on my way back. But I digress.

It is at that time - dusk, dark enough for the lights but not for the curtains - that one can get tantalising glimpses into strange houses, strange rooms, strange lives. (Strange as in other rather than as in peculiar.) One sees the wallpaper chosen by other people, the pictures and light fittings, sometimes the furniture. One is allowed a tantalising glimpse into another person's life.

That, for me, is part of the attraction of those blogs to be found under the umbrella of City Daily Photos. People post photos of their home towns, towns and cities I shall never visit as well as some I have been to. Avignon, Sydney, Funchal and scores of others. But what most of those photographer bloggers seem to overlook is that what to them is everyday can be exotic to others. They try to show the (to them) unusual and artistic. OK, there's nothing wrong with that, but what about showing something of everyday life in Bangkok or Melbourne, Dallas or Stockholm? The souk in Marrakesh might not seem interesting to somebody who lives there, but to me?

I joined this happy band of bloggers some time back, albeit with my tongue in my cheek. I rarely post photos of my city (Brighton) because I rarely go into the city proper. I live in the suburbs (ghastly thought but true) and spend more time walking the dog over the South Downs and in the local parks and woods, so that's where most of my pictures are taken. But then, I suppose I'm back where I started, aren't I? I'm allowing other people to have glimpses of my world. Just see my Stanmer photo blog if you are feeling nosey!

1 comment:

Stephen Hayes said...

I agree with you about this curiously revealing time of day, The Gloaming, the Twilight Zone.