Wednesday 14 May 2008

Another kind of bike, another kind of rider

I want to link to this because it's so lovely. Also because when I was in Barcelona last week, I was sharing a flat with a motorcycle designer, who I'm sure would love to see this.

I think three and a half years in Denmark changed my relationship to design, by osmosis. Not in terms of a particular aesthetic, but to make me find something like this interesting at all.

This is a gorgeous photographic archive of a moment in time in the seventies in sarf London, and of course even the taking of such an archive would probably be subject to far higher scrutiny these days. This picture, for instance. Its pure brute beauty of a teenage black boy being photographed by a teacher would surely cause suspicion in the boy, his parents, the school governors, and anyone else who heard about a teacher taking pictures of his charges today?

I still feel that this kind of thing can get done, this guy was obviously very visible in the community as a photograph taker. The shift is obvious: now everyone has become 'the photograph taker' and yet somehow the kind of engagement and frank boldness implicit in the job of taking these particular pictures is still rare to meet. There's a lot more to taking this kind of photograph than getting the light and composition right, and even the gift of seeing the moment you're in. There's the business of being accepted as the photograph taker of intimate moments, by the subjects of the picture. THAT is a rare gift.

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