Monday, December 11, 2006
Doorway to nowhere
Abandoned doorway on Lyle Street
My office is located in a fascinating part of town, on the very eastern edge of a district known as Woodfield. Some of the oldest buildings in London are found here, and it is here where London's ruling elite first built homes in the 1800s. Walking the streets here is a lesson in history and humility.
Just to the east lies a neighborhood that is just as old, but nowhere near as lovingly preserved. Known derisively by Londoners as East of Adelaide - or EOA, for short - this half of the city is often considered the place that time forgot.
Of course, it's easy to make black-and-white assumptions about a neighborhood. Sure, the shopping strip along Dundas Street has seen its better days. And, yes, the streets that adjoin the main drag can be forlorn to the uninitiated. But the photographer in me thinks there's a hidden story in this place, a glimpse into a world most of us from the so-called right side of the tracks would almost never take the time to explore.
But explore I will. If I've got some time over lunch and I happen to have my camera with me, I'll wander the streets and capture whatever scenes speak to me. The poignancy of a decaying urban environment has always been a strong interest of mine. I don't know why. Maybe because it's different. Maybe because no one else takes the time. Whatever the reason, I hope it lets me grow as a photographer.
About this image: A forgettable one-storey painted brick building houses a place called Bingo Country. It's right across the street from The Adult Superstore (go ahead, use your imagination) and even on a sunny day, it's a miserable and gray place to be. This door likely hasn't been used in years. One wonders what lies behind it. Or maybe it's better that this question remains unanswered. Either way, its stark lines remind us that not all doorways are welcoming to passers by.
Your turn: Urban decay. Why do you feel this has appeal to the storytellers among us?