Monday, October 15, 2007

Porches wear their age


English Street and Queens Avenue
London, ON, October 2007 [Click to embiggen]

I was back in the shadows of downtown London the other day. I was running errands, but thought I might have a minute here or there to grab a picture or two as I scooted between destinations.

Turns out I was right. My very evolved photographic strategy - hold camera in hand as I walk, take pictures of whatever interests me - paid off as I kept seeing textures that practically begged to be remembered.

As I took this image - shot from a corner, looking down a row of porches - I wondered if the owners of these homes ever looked at them through the soft frame of a lens. I hope that they do, because we all deserve to feel a twinge of something when we look back at our respective homes.

Your turn: What do you see as you peer down these empty verandas? What do you really see?

16 comments:

Chad Oneil said...

They sure do wear their age!

wordnerd said...

I'm really enjoying the monochrome series, Carmi.

My answer to your question? I see history. Family history. Stories of joy, stories of struggle.

Wonderful shot. (I sure do say that alot when I come here...hmmmm.)

Heidi said...

I picture neighbors shouting to one another a warm "hello" or "good morning"... I see someone painting the railing for maybe the fifth time... I see kids hanging out with popsicles on a hot summer day... I see people gathering on chairs, settling in to watch a parade go by...

MissMeliss said...

Visual echoes of easier times. Small children with chalk and stones, playing hopscotch on the front walk, young lovers sharing a porch swing, old men playing chess, old women gossiping over their knitting, and mail carriers stopping to share a laugh and a glass of lemonade.

I love this photo, Carmi.

David said...

a generation ago, one neighbor would likely know ( well ) the people on both sides, they might even talk from porch to porch. Somehow I doubt the porches are used much at all, and not for social activities.
Their emptiness is what spoke to me.
please drop by for my interpretation of sunset, see what you think.

Beverly said...

I love this shot. I'm sure lots of stories were told on those porches. In another time when folks knew their neighbors, a knder, friendlier time.

mckay said...

i see summer nights and couples sitting on the porch. i see kids with jars of lightening bugs. i see american history.

sister AE said...

My grandma's house had a porch like that, although her neighbors didn't (and were much farther apart).

But this reminds me so much of playing on the sloped porch (carefully to keep things from rolling off the edge), or sitting in the swing hanging in front of the large living room window.

I also used to sit there waiting for Wendel (the mail carrier) to deliver make deliveries on the Saturdays or summer weekdays when I visited.

Darin said...

I really dig this picture. It reminds me of our previous home in East Hamilton. Yeah - I know the reaction "East Hamilton" will provoke in many.
However our street was a quiet, tree lined boulevard, edged with tall three story homes built by the upper middle-class of Hamilton during the 1920's.

On summer evenings neighbors would occupy the front porches, chatting quietly - house to house with the children playing on the boulevard.

It was always cooler on the porch than in the house and the summer evenings were perfect venues to meet your neighbors.

Funny thing about the timing of this picture posting - I was telling a coworker about "porch sitting" in Hamilton. He laughed and said that in Burlington in was all about the back deck. Nobody uses the front porch. Oh no, everyone sits out in back yard - screened from each other. Yeah...I'll take East Hamilton's version anyday.

CG said...

I love these porches, I wish we had porches like these in England!

SzélsőFa said...

I love when you post photos of these old, or old-looking places.

What do I see?
Ghosts of the deceased.
Definitely.
They are there. Moving slowly and faster, making movements with their hand, turning their head and bodies.
People of old.

Awareness said...

I see ancestral stories........I see nervous young men on first dates ringing doorbells.......I see new moms rocking and rocking their little ones on warm summer afternoons......anniversaries, birthdays, holidays....

I have often thought about writing a family story using the veranda as place for reflection....

Smiler said...

What do I see? I see many generations and lots of comings and goings, plenty of commotion, movers, door to door salesemen (when they were still around), pets, birds, squirrels. They're all in the wings and waiting to make their appearance.

Smiler said...

Great shot by the way.

Mike said...

Now that is a front porch shot! Very neat Carmi.

doug rogers said...

Costing about in my memory, I think these are the houses on the north side of Queens at English, across the street from where I grew up

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