This is quite an unusual shot for a variety of reasons. Let’s forget for a moment who these four people are, and where they were: both are unknown and not massively important in the great scheme of things – especially to the lover of old lost and found photographs. We do have, however, quite a striking image that has been taken through an open window. The four subjects are outside on an open balcony whilst the photographer is inside …. or are they? There is something about the lady in the front and centre of the group that makes me wonder whether she, herself, is the photographer. When you take someone’s photograph – and they are aware of it – there is always an element of the captive visible in the facial expression of the subjects. They have been photographed, a process that has been controlled by someone else. You can see it in three of the faces here, a certain subjugation, a look that quickly reminds you why some people see photography as robbery of the soul. That look is completely absent from the fourth face: she radiates control: if souls are to be collected, then she is doing the collecting. Could the secret of her powers be found in whatever she is holding in her hands? It looks like a piece of optical equipment, could it be some form of remote control device to fire the camera shutter? Perhaps the camera had been set up inside on a tripod, and the group had gone onto the balcony for a photograph taking using a remote shutter release. Get ready, she says, smile, watch the birdie!
Monthly Archives: August 2020
Here is the second of the photographs taken from the top of Beacon Hill, Halifax in the early 1970s. My camera has swung around, so now I am looking in the direction of The Shay and Savile Park. You can just make out the three graces – St Jude’s Church, Crossley Heath and Wainhouse Tower – on the near horizon. Just as with the last of these photographs taken from my “1970s drone” you can focus in on particular areas and see how things have changed in the last half century or so. You can see where houses weren’t and where mills and factories still were. You can see that the Building Society headquarters has made it through the historical cut, but Eureka hasn’t. It is the kind of picture you could set an exam on, write a book about or compose a sonnet to.