Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Light and Shade

Covent Garden on a sunny day in early spring; a gift for photographers, with so many opportunities to play with contrasting light and shade. Beams of light striking through rows of pillars and railings; a mosaic of light and dark as the sun - still relatively low in the sky, even at mid-day - strikes deep into the heart of the open structure of the old market.

A hasty lunchtime stroll didn't really allow time for my head to get into gear, to adapt from corporate drone to observer of light. But one scene took my eye for five minutes.

It was the light shining through the samples hung above this stall at edge of the market, at the boundary of light and shade, of inside and outside, that first caught my eye.
To begin with, the stallholder was sitting slumped in a chair next to the artwork she was selling.

If I'd been able to get close enough (the reach of the zoom on the LX5 is not great) it might have made a nice shot; she had a rather weather-beaten market trader's face, full of character.

Maybe she caught sight of the camera, maybe she was just cold; she moved out into the sun, and that composition was lost.

I so rarely take photographs of people, and so dislike having my own photo taken, that I'm reticent about obviously making strangers the subject of the shot. But however good the light, an empty market stall looks incomplete.

Markets are about people.

At least using the LX5 is relatively discrete - I just look like another tourist taking snapshots, not a DSLR-touting wannabe photo-artist.

Potential customers come and go; once in a while, someone must buy something, although no-one did in the few minutes I was there.

The stallholder didn't look bothered - tourist prices probably mean there's a hefty mark-up.

And it's a nice spot to watch the world go by.
The connection with the above may be tenuous - this isn't about light and shade, nor is it in Covent Garden, merely outside a restaurant in Drury Lane, en route back to work - but it makes a nice end-piece.

1 comment:

  1. Someone might be inclined to call me silly, but my first reaction to this post was that I felt a sense of encouragement. Not sure if that was because this post is evidence that your creative spirit is still alive and well (even if operating within the confines of an otherwise ordinary day), or because I'm pleased to see you using photography as yet another means to express yourself.

    Call me silly if you must, but I'm encouraged to see that you've managed to find beauty in the light and shadow of an ordinary marketplace, and the moss-laden bust that provides the punctuation for the post is exactly the perfect ending ... as if it elevates the ordinary into a more formal and introspective view simply by lending weight to the composition. Well done, my friend. Thanks for sharing a bit of encouragement - something we can all use a bit more of in our everyday existence - and thanks for stopping by to say hello. Keep going, andy. Just keep going. (smile)