Thursday, April 10, 2008

Faded, crumbling, defiant

Life amid the ruins
London, Ontario, April 2008 [Click to enlarge]

Note: This is another in a series on finding beauty where you least expect it. Previous entries can be found here, here and here.

The scene: I'm wandering around downtown London with my camera in my hand. It's a brilliant Sunday afternoon, and it's the first day this season that's warm enough for shorts. Which means it's comfortable enough outside for me to linger as I stare at everything in sight, searching for something to capture on a memory card.

I wander down an alleyway. Emboldened by the eerie silence that descends over me as I get further away from the busy street, I keep walking, deeper than I've ever been before. I know I should be even a little afraid, but this is London, after all. Small-city Canadians just don't have it in them to mug a guy for his camera in a back alley.

I'm surrounded by partially collapsed, graffiti-covered brick walls. The colors are faded, dusty. This might be because this place has been around for the better part of a century, but part of me suspects they were just as bleak when first built.

There's no life here. Indeed, nothing can grow in this forgotten place. Or can it? As soon as I complete the thought, I spot a thicket of naked ivy, just waiting for the springtime sun to kick it back to life. This spindly collection of branches clings to the crumbling brick as it defies everything around it, managing to stay alive in spite of its harsh, decaying urban environment.

No one walks back here except for surrounding business owners who take out the trash. I wonder what they think about this place. I wonder if they find this place as strangely comforting as I do.

Your turn: An alley? What the hell am I thinking?


kenju said...

If it is a comforting place, you must feel protected there.

Anonymous said...

I'm immersed in your muse, wandering along your wonder, imagining with you as you share your thoughts. As you spot the determined ivy, I'm imagining a re-take a few months from now, this time in color, to show the contrast of time and season.

And then I read your last line and snap back to "reality" faster than a speeding bullet.

To me, a delicious turn of your poetic prose....:)

Chica, Cienna, and Cali said...

liked the title and narrative as much as the pic , Carmi.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I just spent about 20 minutes going over your blog and really enjoyed it. Excellent photos . . . I love the way you find the beauty in things others might not notice.

Thanks for stopping by yesterday.

Anna said...

You are thinking with your camera...I do that all the time. Where is your Project Yellow? ;)

I love the tones is this shot Carmi! Take care!

Anna said...

Hey Carmi!

Thanks for commenting back to me...I replied on my blog. I love hearing from you and hope things settle down for you and your family soon.

tommie said...

Love the curvy lines of the branches next the the stern lines of the barred window. It looks amazing in B&W.

about the are much braver than I am! Recently I really wanted to get this shot that just made me laugh, but I was in a serious ghetto-licious part of town (my favorite coffee drive though hut is over there)....I rolled the window down far enough and used zoom!

Nestor Family said...

You are searching... and it is incredibly exciting and interesting for us to get to see... and you ask us to search in your questions to us. Thank you.

Michael K. Althouse said...

I wonder what its story is? Who used this place and what goes on inside it now?

Nice shot,

Michele sent me,


rashbre said...

They must be expecting someone, judging from the bars across the windows. Very moody shot, I like the crumbling brickwork to the left.

And today I'm here to wish you a happy weekend via Michele's!


barbie2be said...

carmi, what a beautiful photo. you have such a wonderful eye for things that most people would miss.

Shephard said...

I like defiant as a description. Enduring even. This is a wonderful photo. One of my favorites you've taken.

Michele says hello!

Mary Beth said...

first impression is I expect Sleeping Beauty to appear at the window at any minute. It looks like a tower covered with overgrowth. Fantastic shot!