Friday, March 09, 2007
Sign of the past
London, Ontario, February 2007 [Click to embiggen]
I've been walking the neighborhood in recent weeks. The frayed-at-the-edges streets offer compelling, poignant views at every turn. You never know when you'll see something that is just sad because it represents something that no longer is.
I came across this piece of not-quite-erased history on my way back to the office. Typical of a winter's day shoot, my fingers hurt from the cold, and I really wanted to get back inside. But the old sign seemed so ideal for a picture. Sure, I could come back another day, but maybe the mood of a chilly, gray day wouldn't be the same. Maybe my personal sense of malaise - thanks to walking around a depressed neighborhood in the bitter cold - meant I'd see the scene somewhat differently if I waited to come back.
Whatever it was that compelled me to stop and take the shot, I'm glad for it. Stark, rectangular forms surround a faded message. How many women walked underneath this sign so many years ago, externally prettier upon their exit than their entrance? Where did these women go after this place closed? Did anyone remember what this place was like back then? Did it even matter?
Too many questions for my chilled brain on that day. So I metered, composed and took the shot before tucking the camera into my coat and heading back inside.
Your turn: Photographs as triggers of history. Please discuss.