Thursday, 22 January 2009

Photography – Week 2

I am knitting but I do not have anything worthwhile to show for my efforts yet - so instead, here are my ten images for Week Two of my photography course. So first up, are some pictures that I took last Thursday evening when I walked to knit night at a local Starbucks.

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It's been foggy here in Vancouver for a week now and there is not much sign of it moving on. Although I do not mind fog, all of the weather so far in January has meant that the Kid has not been able to get here to stay at all - a bit sad for us.

The next photos are a few shots taken in the streets around my neighbourhood. I have to confess that I find the place that I live a little bit weird. It is possible that my discomfort shows in my photographs?

You see, in London, my house was only about 2-3 metres from the kerb. I lived on a fairly busy street, quite close to a train station. As a result, parking was difficult, cars and people passed by the house at all hours and so, background noise was always a factor. If I was up late, I would see urban foxes playing in the street with their young.

My house in London is one of seven in a terrace and there, I know all six of my neighbours. One of them is a very close friend - Andrée lives three doors down and we have been an integral part of each other's lives for over ten years.

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In sharp comparison, in Vancouver I live on a street of detached houses that are set back a little from the road. Here, it is considered a busy day if 3-5 cars drive down the street. It is so very, very quiet here right now that I can hear the clock ticking in the kitchen.

I do not know any of the neighbours and the street never seems to change. In fact, the houses in my road are blank. They sit within their impeccably manicured gardens and they do not give away any clue as to the personalities of the families that live inside. The whole thing is very Stepford Wives'esque.

The cars parked outside them rarely move either. Occasionally (just to unnerve me when my back is turned I think) the invisible residents in my road, nip out to their vehicles and move them ever-so-very slightly. Except for this one where no pretence is made to move it at all.

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I am home quite a lot during the week and in almost 4 months, the only people that I ever see around here are:

  • Tuesdays and Thursdays – Free Newspaper Man: he mutters to himself and throws the newspapers at our front door from the road. His alternative manouvere is to chuck them over his shoulder as he is taking a shortcut through the neighbour's shrubs.

    If the papers bounce off the glass of the front window, I indulge in a short stand-off with him, glaring until he comes up the path, retrieves them and places them on our doorstep. I am getting good at not blinking - you know, I'd feel badly about this except that sometimes the papers hit our windows with such a crack that I am surprised the damned things don't shatter.

  • Mondays to Fridays (no deliveries here on Saturdays) – Florence, the bright, bubbly, smiley post lady delivers our post. Now she might be awful for all I know but as she is the only person that I might get to speak to during the day unless Brian phones me, she's right up there as my prime nominee for 2008-9 Short Conversationalist of the Year.

  • Daily – Next Door Neighbour, Category Wife (I should know her name as they posted one of those photo Christmas Cards through our door that showed their whole family smiling cheesily at the camera at some faceless holiday destination - it had all their names printed underneath. Yet it still escapes me) – recycles at one of her back doors, which happens to be right next to our dining table window. She is usually in her nightwear or her underwear. On occasion this can cause the Fella to collapse into convulsions of repulsion over his morning coffee. I am thinking of implementing a cafe rod curtain arrangement so that we can enjoy our morning coffee without the threat of seeing a woman in her late forties, or early fifties, recycling in a skimpy, lime green, manmade fibre teddy - it's luminous, I tell you, absolutely luminous.

  • Random – Elderly Lady from Family Opposite - occasionally a car pulls up outside, honks its horn and an elderly lady leaves bundled up in a coat and hat with a fake fur trim descends the steps, gets into the car which drives away. I never see when she is returned. So I have decided, to make my world more interesting, that she is collected at her front door and returned to her back door. I have decided, without any basis in fact at all, that she must be of such a grand old age that her brain can only cope with one way traffic through her home.

    And why not? Some old people stack newspapers to the ceilings.

Otherwise, people are just dots in the distance. A bit like the cyclist in this photo. It is just as well that this person did not cycle past me as I can get so starved for someone to speak to that I would have called out a hello - they probably would have fallen off their bike in shock!

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I am not complaining about where I live, by the way - it is very nice. It is just a whole new level of quiet suburban living that I am just not used to at all. I realise that people who live in zones 1 - 3, in London, tend to view those of us who live further afield as very suburban (pedestrian even). Trust me - we are still urban by comparision with my suburb in Vancouver. Where I live now? It is totally off the end of any London Transport zone. Although I am probably only 20 minutes drive from downtown? It's the equivalent of being buried deep, way out in the stockbroker belt.

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The final photograph is of the sunshine in my life - de Fella. It is just before I dragged him off to a barbers and watched (i.e. took photos) while the hairdresser took a pair of clippers to him!


Robynn said...

Oh! I *love* that first picture!

Also, I hear you on the weirdness of the burbs. At first I didn't - I thought, what's her problem? A bit of living space, that's what we all need! That's *good* and *normal*! But, so much space that you never see anyone... ooh er. Odd. Disturbing.

Roobeedoo said...

You know, your feelings about the place are definitely coming out in those photos!

Kelli said...

I love the quiet and contentment of living in the country, but I still have a large amount of traffic on my road. The high school for my area isn't far off.

yogicknitter said...

Some beautiful photographs. Love the one of Brian at the end - he looks so blissfully happy!