Friday, October 23, 2015

Sepia Saturday 302 : A Unique Moment In The History Of Mankind



Our Sepia Saturday theme image this week shows a young lady playing a harp and gazing into the near distance, caught in some kind of reverie, and dressed as if to suggest Britannia winding down on a Sunday evening after a heavy day spent knocking ten bells out of the Roman invaders. No doubt you are wondering what on earth that has to do with my featured image which shows an early twentieth century high street of little import and less consequence. The answer is, absolutely nothing at all. The important thing about Sepia Saturday is that there is no requirement to try and follow a suggested theme, merely a requirement to give some seemingly insignificant old photographs it's fifteen minutes of worldwide fame, it's moment in the sun. So this weekend, whilst the lady harmlessly strums her harp strings, the sun shines on the Corn Exchange in ...... somewhere or other.

I have dedicated a good few minutes to trying to identify the location of this particular photograph which somehow attached itself to me (old photographs have a habit of getting into the house through half open windows like flies in the summer), but with no success. The bus legend would suggest perhaps "Ewell and Ascot" and therefore - unless it had strayed too far away from home - we are probably dealing with Surrey. Neither Burden's Restaurant nor Tarrant's School Of Motoring seem to be in business any more, but I would guess that the Corn Exchange building and the monument or market cross still grace some southern high street or other. And I would be prepared to bet a pint of Harp Lager than before the weekend is out someone has written in to tell me where they are.

But the sun is probably no longer shining on the little man on the right of the picture: caught forever in mid-movement in this old, not particularly good, slightly out-of-focus, long-forgotten photograph. But think of all the variables that had to come together to create this image: the man standing, the car coming, the bus going. So many variables that it is unique. The scene was never repeated. Let us be grateful that the photographer was passing by in order to record for posterity this unique moment in the history of mankind.

There are more unique moments in the history of man and woman kind over on the Sepia Saturday Blog


16 comments:

  1. Solved, Alan. It is in Reading, which still had echoes of the nice old market town it used to be, when I was at school there. http://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-butter-market-market-place-with-corn-exchange-reading-berkshire-england-61131778.html

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    1. Wonderful Jenny - I knew someone would solve the problem. The pint of Harp lager is yours - the next time you are up in these parts, let me know.

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  3. I’m so glad Jenny was able to say where it was taken – it was annoying me because I knew I recognised it. Terry and I did most of our courting in Reading – it just shows how little interest we took in the buildings!

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  4. I'm impressed. And humbled by what you can get out of a picture.

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  5. Now that you know the location, we need a Part 2 to this story. Does the location help explain how this photo came to be attached to you?

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  6. That poor delivery boy on his bike. I'm imagining that just as he leaves the edge of the photograph, he has a long, steep hill to climb with his basket full, and the sun on his back. A pint of Harp for him too!

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  7. I would have shuffled right past this scene without a second thought. You made it all come to life. One of the best things about Sepia Saturday for me has been learning to see more in every photo. Alan, you're the master at this.

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  8. An exact moment in the lives of all pictured caught for posterity - or for however long the photograph survives. And I agree with Helen. Ever since I saw the post of whoever it was (sorry I don't remember) who chose to make a theme of an almost invisible manhole cover behind a woman walking across a wet street in the rain with an umbrella (#185, July 2013) I have kept my eyes open for the tiniest details in every prompt picture just in case I either can't find photos to match the main theme, or wish to take a different route. Sepia Saturday teaches, challenges, and is just a whole lotta fun!

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  9. Great totally off prompt photo! Showing us how it's done. Now I have to go look for #185 and see what that was.

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  10. Amazing what you can fnd, or be helped to find, on the Internet, and I love the image of photos getting into your house like flies in summer! Hope you have someone lined up to look after them in future.

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  11. I think the real story is the obelisk in front of the building. I followed Jenny's clever identification and discovered that it is the Simeon Monument built in 1804 by Edward Simeon, a director of the Bank of England, who claimed that the monument would promote better traffic flow through Reading's market square.

    The design is by the more famous Sir John Soane. The monument is three sided and described as a candelabra with lamps that presumably were a feature that kept wagons and pedestrians safe from collisions in the square. Here is a YouTube closeup video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKYaKFpOIys

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  12. A unique moment in the history of mankind.I have never thought about photos capturing a moment in time but more of a story in time. Amazing the things you and commenters have seen in this shot.

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  13. It is an excellent capture of a moment in a day way back when, with so much to consider within this one photo. Indeed this chap is probably long gone by now, but he certainly appears to be very much in the moment at the time it was taken.

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  14. You are a master, Alan, at finding small details in photographs. I must admit I tend to go for the obvious or think " I have nothing to match that theme" - but I am slowly learning! Having no stated theme with a prompt encourages me to look more deeply at a photograph - and next week's prompt is a case in point. So watch this space!!

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  15. Glad someone could help with identification. A handsome building.

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