Today’s image was taken very nearly fifty years ago. I had completed the first three years of my medical training at Cambridge and had moved down to London to continue my training at Guy’s Hospital close to London Bridge.
I and three friends found a flat to rent halfway between Blackheath and Lewisham in SE London within reach of trains to London Bridge. The flat was owned by a man who worked overseas for the British Council in Istanbul. The stand-out feature of the flat was this classic iron spiral staircase that was sited in the corner of the main living room and provided access to the bedrooms upstairs.
I started printing my own black and white negatives in 1966. This photo would have been shot sometime between 1968 to 1970, and then printed in a darkroom I discovered that was available for hire above the Photographers Gallery in central London. And what you see here today is a digital photograph taken of that original ten by eight inch print. I have photographed many of my old B&W prints and quite a few of them have appeared on this blog – if interested you will find them in the Print Archive category listed in the Right Sidebar of the screen.
As we travel through life on our own visual journeys as photographers, inevitably we change. We grow, acquiring a wide range of skills along the way, and our unique view of the world starts to take shape. It is when we look back through our archive that we develop a greater understanding of how that journey has progressed. We will cringe at some of the work we thought was good, see our mistakes, and perhaps re-process work. Also, we will find images that marked the start of individual threads of our work that exist to this day. I have always appreciated flowing lines and curves. Spiral staircases are all about flowing lines.
I must have walked up and down this spiral hundreds of time in the course of two and a half years. This was home for that period of time, a time during which my clinical training led to my final degree and shaped my future life’s work as a GP (general practitioner or family doctor for overseas readers). And a period of time during which I met my future darling wife who has journeyed with me through life in all its ups and downs and is still here (thankfully).
This was my first spiral. I came to love that spiral and I still love those flowing sensual lines. If you haven’t seen my previous post of a spiral staircase at Tate Britain then click here to view it.