Looking down a spiral staircase
Architecture,  CFFC,  Lens-Artists,  London,  Travel galleries

Gallery: the perfect simplicity of a spiral staircase

Life is a journey up a spiral staircase; as we grow older we cover the ground we have covered before, only higher up; as we look down the winding stair below us we measure our progress by the number of places where we were but no longer are. The journey is both repetitious and progressive; we go both round and upward.

William Butler Yeats

Sometimes (often?) photography is more about serendipity than anything else. A purposeful photo outing is enjoyable of course, and often reaps great rewards; but arguably we derive the most pleasure from finding an unexpected subject for our lens, just by chance?

I had already decided on a set of photos I would post today for Cee’s CFFC Curvy or Arches theme. I had started to edit them and had written an accompanying text. And then I visited a London gallery, in Vauxhall’s Newport Street, that I hadn’t been to before. The exhibition we had come to see was not especially inspiring, but I fell in love with the spiral staircase that took us from the ground floor up to the first. Or perhaps more accurately, I fell in love with the photographic possibilities it presented. Unfortunately I only had my phone with me, but I did my best to capture its seductive curves.

Then I realised that in these photos I was striving to show the staircase not as a functional element of the building but as a piece of art; that this staircase contained the creative spark that for me had been lacking in many of the paintings on display. So it seemed the perfect subject matter too for this week’s Lens Artists Challenge, set by I.J., encouraging us to see the ordinary in a new light. And as I couldn’t decide if I liked it best in colour or monochrome, I edited the shots both ways. I am now veering towards monochrome, but see what you think.

Looking down a spiral staircase
Looking down a spiral staircase, black and white

Looking down a spiral staircaseLooking down a spiral staircase, black and white
Looking down a spiral staircaseLooking down a spiral staircase, black and white

Back at ground level I tried a shot looking up from below. The pattern of light and dark brought to mind the delicacy of a snowdrop.

Looking up a spiral staircase
Looking up a spiral staircase, black and white

At the other end of the gallery a similar staircase, but more angular, also links the two floors. I was not as enamoured with it as with the first, but it nevertheless called out to be featured, from above and below.

Looking down a staircase
Looking down a staircase, black and white
Looking up a staircase
Looking up a staircase, black and white

That last shot is the only one that I now feel works better in colour than black and white. I’d be interested to know what others think?

Photos all taken in October 2021

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