On our last day I woke up in bilious spirit, poor D had to raise all his shields, but full tranquility returned the second I walked into the Shape of Light, an exhibition of 100 years of abstract photography at Tate Modern.
As I’m sure I’ve told you before, I’ve been taking photographs since I was a small child, and got my first SLR in my late teens. But I’ve never really found photography easy. It often feels like a horribly rule-bound craft where sharp focus is paramount and one is criticised for too much tonal variation. I like extremes of tone and blur, and, anyway, can’t afford the kind of equipment that is able to deliver super sharp edges. I’m also much more of a poet than an essayist, clarity isn’t my thing. I like to leave space for the viewer’s imagination and personal experience to bring meaning, or whatever, to the final image. But I do worry that that’s a pitiful excuse for not trying hard enough. So, Shape of Light felt like a hug by a master, and permission to keep at it. Here are some snaps:
Like all exhibitions these days, there was a shop to pass through on the way out. Fine, I wanted to buy a catalogue anyway, but imagine my delight at seeing this:
I couldn’t afford it, but one day…
While I was swooning at the door of abstract possibilities D was pondering Picasso’s 1932, he came out as excited as I did, so to calm ourselves we wandered down to our second favourite London spot for a last mooch around the stalls.
After which it was time to get the train back to Blackheath and pack.
I loved everything about our time in London, even the fact that I achieved not a tenth of the things I hoped to, and I was more than a little worried that Moffat would be a monstrous disappointment to me when we returned. Oddly, the opposite has occurred: Moffat seems cheerier than it has for some time. Maybe I’ll write about that later.
Header image: D muses on the Blavatnik Building stairwell. The text is on strips of different coloured papers (there’s a shot in my last London post #15), and it was that that drew me to it, but the photograph only came to life when I stripped the colour away.