Somethings Can’t Be Bought

Yesterday and today I went on an adventure to a place I’ve never heard of: Portobello Road. There is a large market there of antiques, clothes, pottery, food… anything you find in a market. IT’S HUGE.

Yesterday when I went it was rainy and not many stalls were open. But something really awesome happened. I was walking by some antique stalls when I saw a camera one, so of course I stopped, because this is a photography blog you are reading so duh. On the table, I noticed an old looking photograph in a nice album-like frame. It looked like a Daguerreotype. So I was excited, because, hello, it’s one of the oldest types of print in photography. So I asked the old gentleman who was sitting at the stall, “Excuse me, but is this a Daguerreotype?” and to mine and his surprise, he said, “Yes- how do you know that?”

So, we got to talking about how I’m studying photography, and I asked him about more of the photos on the table. After asking about a hand-colored tin-type, he told me something I’ve never heard about.

Apparently, when he was an apprentice in the late 40s, he would hand-correct negatives of portraits. He would go in with graphite and alter the soft-focused images to get rid of blemishes, make noses bigger, make noses smaller, lips fuller… He said that after they were done the photographs didn’t resemble the people anymore, but they were happy.

How cool is that? I thanked him for that knowledge, and hopefully I can pass it on to photography students some day. It was a really nice conversation, and I was so sad to leave. I’ve been longing for someone to talk photography with, and I found that someone in the form of an old Italian man in a white fedora. You can’t replicate moments like that.

I returned to the market today to see how it was without the rain, and today (Saturday) is the serious antique day. You couldn’t move it was so densely populated by tourists who loved to stop in the middle of the road or sidewalk or whatever who had no sense of space and were completely unaware of their surroundings in order to take a picture or point at something and wow it was frustrating. I spent four hours there, just walking around and browsing antique shops. I saw one lady drop 600 pounds (or quid, as they call it on that side of London,) on a brooch. Like dang son, I wonder why that brooch was as much as it was- did it belong to some marchioness or something? So that was bizarre for me, anyway.

After my adventure at the market I went to Hyde Park and finally saw the Serpentine. It was soo beautiful. I also had my camera loaded with color infrared film with me, so I took some shots and hopefully they come out.

Well, that’s all for now. Happy shooting!

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