Sunday, March 09, 2008

More photos of something semi-hidden...

Harbour Commissioners Office, Arwenack Street, Falmouth, this morning.

I can't quite get my head around this one. A teddy-bear and a photo of two small children, left in a public place, would tend to have me imagining that something tragic is being marked here, but... well, I just don't know at all - where are all the flowers and the notes, and the names and the cards and the notices? And why is the bear all but hidden behind the column?

It's a very private public memorial...

Actually, I can't help thinking that it might be something like that. That perhaps whoever left it wants only the comfort of knowing it's there.

I don't know.

And I don't know, either, whether these photos should be here.

When I first saw the bear I thought it was just something odd to photograph. Now I'm not so sure that it isn't in fact the kind of sad quiet determined gesture that can make you feel that humanity's not such a sorry, undignified mess to be in after all.

Actually, they probably should be on here, then.


nuttycow said...

I like the idea of having a private public memorial.

Again, well spotted (although I do have visions of a very tall man wandering aimlessly around, camera in hand, looking in bins etc, trying to find interesting things to photo!)

Taiga the Fox said...

I like the way you look through your camera very much. Great job!

What Nuttycow said above somehow reminded me of Umberclout Digsby :)

patroclus said...

This makes me feel very sad for some reason.

Tara said...

Recently I saw a feature in the Washington Post about some local guy who goes around taking photos of street memorials; tower after tower of teddy bears and photos; beer bottles and balloons. He reasoned that it was paying homage to take the photos since the city removes them after a set number of days.

Occasional Poster of Comments said...

Nuttycow: Me too. (Erm, I'm actually about 5'6". And hadn't thought about bins yet. Although... there was some silly graffiti on one... Might still be there next time I'm in town).

Taiga: I thought the same :)

And, thanks :) You kind of gave me the photo-taking-bug. Took quite a while before my blog caught it, though.

Patroclus: Yep, even if it isn't some kind of very private public memorial, it does have a certain lonely quality...

Didn't I used to try to be funny on this thing? I'm sure I remember doing that.

Tara: It was odd, I somehow felt like I might have intruded on someone's privacy when it occurred to me that it might be some kind of memorial, even though there it was, right there on the street... But I guess grief isn't such a private thing these days.

Actually, I think that was partly what touched me about it, that it was somehow both public and private; that the nature of grief has been changing post-Diana, post-9/11, post-7/7 and perhaps whoever left it was trying to come to terms both with their own grief and with the increasing blurriness of grief itself; that grief might be an even more confusing thing than it used to be; that even in sadness a person can do something simple, decisive, bold, modest, that cuts through everything. I don't know there's just something quiet, yet defiant about it, and I always respond to people approaching life (and death) with that spirit.

But I tend to over-intellectualise things. Really, it just touched me. And I'm still not wholly sure why. Even less so that I need to be.