Friday, 24 January 2014
What Would Byron Have Said?
I did none of these things because they seemed so cliched, and because it's not the sort of thing I normally bother to photograph. I happened upon this scene when mooching about the backblocks of a nearby village. It's the sort of shot, properly dressed up, that appears in countless picture books extolling a bucolic wonderland of peace and contentment. I can appreciate a well presented photo for its design qualities -- lines, colours, proportion and so on. What I don't have an eye for is what someone is going to consider 'romantic', although I can sometimes guess.
So why have I published what I clearly think is a very ordinary, not terribly interesting photo? It gives me chance to muse on this curious word 'romantic'. It is a word often applied to France, and in particular Paris. I simply don't know what the word means in this context and what the attraction of this notion of 'romantic' is. Is it a synonym for 'sentimental', or 'fantasy', or 'idealised'? Is it a word that means something different to everyone? Has it changed its meaning over time? Would the context it is used in today be recognised by Wordsworth or Shelley? What about Baudelaire or Hugo? Specifically, what is it that 'romantic' means to you and why?