Thursday, October 04, 2007

On photography

Koln, September 30, 2007

constructing koln

My camera is hopelessly underequipped to capture the fleeting, the random, the ambiguous, the implied. Not surprisingly so. It seems pointless to even attempt to capture within its frame what are often moments that the mind can align perfectly into a mental frame, complete with irony and metaphor, but that the lens will struggle with.

Random moments in Koln stack themselves up in postcard clarity. A bunch of kids dressed all in black: Goth, and seriously so, sprawled along a long set of stairs, Koln's own Gothic masterpiece, the cathedral, rising up in sombre silence behind them. Ironic, but too tall, all of it, to smudge into one frame.

Then around the corner, stomping through the drizzle, a Turkish wedding party unfolds itself. Everybody immaculately dressed and made up. Boys' hair gelled, girls in bronzed make up, everybody exuding exotic scents. I wish I had the looks on the boys' faces - a sort of aggressive sexuality mixed with the confidence of good clothes and post-adolescence. But it would be strange to stop in their midst and photograph them.

And finally walking down the road, picking their way through the rubble of one of Koln's many construction sites, a row of black-hooded nuns, trailing melancholia and sombriety in their path - or maybe it was just the grey weather - but it is a lasting image, their bobbing weave of black and white. It's a mind image though: still fresh. My camera was safely dry in my bag.