Curating Memories: Short Days and Long Nights

Joyce Tenneson Flower Portraits
In her book Flower Portraits: The Life Cycle of Beauty, photographer Joyce Tenneson validates the beauty that exists at the end of a plant’s life cycle.

In the last two weeks, the clocks have turned back and the November rains have started. As I listen to the deluge of rain outside, I am reminded that only a week ago, we experienced one of the most memorable days of what has been a pretty glorious London autumn. Even Permanently Jet Lagged Husband who had just spent the last two weeks in Tokyo, Rio and New York and was home on weekend furlough before going to LA, eschewed a much cherished Saturday morning lie-in to come come with me to our local and newly established Primrose Hill Market. The air smelled too good and the light was too golden to stay in bed. And besides, I promised him a cup of fresh-brewed artisan coffee from one of the market stalls.

Autumn Vegetables
Last Saturday’s market bounty.

In the past, I would have reluctantly bid farewell to the warmth and heady freedom of summer. But now with the short days and long nights, I am finding a certain comfort in the consistent rhythm in the change of seasons. When I was a little girl, I hated what I deemed to be the rather unfashionable raincoat and rubber boots that my mother made me wear to school on rainy days. I dreamed of a world where we could walk around with individual, independent weather systems, delivered to us through our own customised clouds — old fashioned-meteorological ones, that is.  Now, I can’t think of anything worse. The joys and problems of the world, are larger than one person alone and meant to be experienced together. Without these shared common experiences, we would be without empathy. And a world without empathy is one that will have difficulties resolving its problems.

One of the most common topics of discussion which binds Londoners together is the mercurial weather shifts we experience on this island. My imaginary world would be much the poorer for this.  

The bright side of cold, rainy days that turn dark before dinner is that the pressure to maximize time outside “enjoying the weather” is now off. The additional indoor time can be applied to other things like learning new skills. I decided to improve my image-making abilities. Since the beginning of October, I  have been going to weekly Photoshop classes and last weekend, I attended a workshop in portrait photography. With both, Aristotle’s words “the more you know, the more you don’t know” keep resounding in my ears — I have a long road ahead. Never mind, I can now operate my camera in manual and can fully appreciate why I might want to. Small steps, as they say.

row of non-digital camersa
A collection of non-digital cameras in the workshop studio inspired us throughout the weekend to learn more about controlling the light.

No. 2 Son has been learning new things too as part of his gap year. As I have mentioned before, he is now a fully certified bartender and as of this Monday, an employed one as well! The benefits are obvious. He keeps making cocktails and testing them out on me. I have never been much of a cocktail drinker — typically too sweet for me — so in the past, I have steered away from them. He’s clearly been taught well because his drinks are delicious and make me wonder what I have been missing all these years. Looking forward to catching up and as I’ve never been able to drink before dark, it’s another good reason to welcome the shorter days.

Cheers and Happy Weekend.

Two pink Cosmopolitans
What I can’t shoot properly (indoor nighttime shots, for instance) is subjected to my ever increasing Photoshop skills, like these two Cosmopolitans, which were gharish in colour before undergoing surgery.

N.B.: Originally posted on My Contents Have Shifted on 7 November 2015.

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