Photo Essays

January Intersession Courses in London

Photos and Captions by Garth D Stahl

This is a picture facing east, walking from Kensington Palace toward the center of London. I like the massive size and uniformity of the trees, and the use of single rows along a path is common landscaping practice in parks on the European continent and in Britain. Even though the picture is taken in a major Western city, it feels very secluded and rural which made me think about how cities can be filled with bustle but also very isolating.

When immigrants emigrated to London, they often got their start either on Brick Lane or in the surrounding area. Thus the East side of London is a tapestry of different ethnic populations layered upon each other over the centuries. What fascinates me about this photograph is the signs which show the juxtaposition between Bangladeshi and native British commercial industry.

I always have enjoyed this street in Cambridge for two reasons: first, I feel like I am stepping back in time and second, the street is so small that you feel the quaintness of the town. Some of these buildings have been around since the 1300s which made me reflect on what we as Americans consider old.

This statue has caused controversy since its debut in Trafalger’s Square last September. The 12ft (3.6m) marble sculpture, "Alison Lapper Pregnant", has divided opinion among art critics and disability campaigners. Its intent is to force people to reevaluate their conceptions of beauty. I liked that she looks defiant and also peaceful, surrounded by the birds.

I like the photograph because is juxtaposes modern art with the National Gallery, home to some of the oldest preserved art in the world today. The photograph is strong because the sky and the concrete buildings and square use equal space within the shot. To me the photograph conveys an almost creepy feeling to the London landscape.