"You can't photograph if you're not in love."
W. Eugene Smith
Apparently Eugene Smith told that to a student of his once. General notions aside, I kinda agree with the statement. One has to be in "Love with the Subject" when taking photos. The simple reason is, if you do not appreciate what you see, how will you translate your vision into a photo. A photo is not just an assimilation of aperture and shutter control, muddled with an understanding of balance, composition and other sundry stuff. Its about being soaked into the moment, into what you see, that which you wish to capture with that device in your hand. Just like you always like the object of your affection to be looking good, similarly with photos you want everything to be perfect. If that means waiting hours for the perfect moment, so be it. If that means going to odd lengths, hanging off a ledge and braving the cold, then that is the price one has to pay. It has to be an emotional investment.
I have had a similar love affair with the alleys of the City of London otherwise known as the Square Mile or simply the City. Soaked in history at every nook and cranny, a walk through these alleys will always lead you to a corner hitherto unknown to you. And sometimes even if you've been there before, you want to be there time and again. Its a photographer's paradise, a history buff's holy land (exaggerating, but please humour me over here). It was on such a walk on Saturday, along with a friend of mine I set about walking some of the alleys of London. During the course of the walk we came across the London Stone on 111 Cannon Street. Not much remains of this stone today. In fact, if you don't know where to look for it you may even miss it. Embedded in a cavity in the southside of St. Swithin's Church about 300 years ago (the church no longer stands), the folklore surrounding the stone makes some refer to it as Brutus' Stone (of Brutus of Troy, after whom Britain is named. Not to be confused with Marcus Brutus).
A couple of hours break, accompanied by some coffee and conversations and we were off towards Chancery Lane to check two of the other old boys of pub lore, Ye Old Mitre Tavern (1542) and Cittie of York (1430) before heading on towards more busy parts of the city to wrap up the evening.
It is because of this love affair that I have been able to learn the little that I have learnt when looking through the viewfinder. It's a charming journey which only get hindered by the regular vagaries of life. But only for a while.
P.S. The shots included in this post may not seem high quality. Kindly follow the links on the right strip to the Flickr page.