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March 6th, 2004

Rambling Rosamicula

I have no idea why I wittered on about the Germans for so long, as I meant to write about my trip to the National Portrait Gallery today. I went to see the Cecil Beaton exhibition, but it was sold out so I mooched around the "We are the People" displays - a collection of old private photo postcards from the 1890s to the 1920s, i.e. the days before cameras became cheap enough for the hoi polloi to own and there was a photographer's studio on every high street, owned by a painter called Tom Phillips. Obviously of interest for me for the WWI element, for as some of you know I love to collect photos of beautiful dead boys (I MUST add that to my interest list). I'd recommend it though. It's weirdly intimate and moving. Some of the pictures resonate strangely now; there are pictures of pairs of men holding hands or with thier arms around each other that seem vividly homoerotic to the modern eye (like the one I wrote my WWI story about), but probably wouldn't have then. Most of them were taken in studios, with the subjects carefully posed, and those ridiuclously unconvincing backdrops. yet they must have chosen to have them taken for a reason. Some are obviously to commemorate weddings or birthdays, new army uniforms, but some are obviously of friends or lovers who just decided on a whim to have a photo taken - or perhaps to mark a departure or separation. Those ones reminded me of the work of Nan Goldin, my all time favourite photographer.

I bought the book that accompanies the exhibition because I thought some of the images might inspire me to do some writing, as that other photo did. That's why I said I felt creative in my last entry, because, hold your breath, I have actually done some writing. So quit your nagging Tigger and Stick. Tigger and Stick. A bit like Carrot and Stick really, and both much loved.


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