The Shambles, York

The Shambles (Flickr).jpg
The Shambles

This image makes me feel uncomfortable. Not the kind of uncomfortable you feel when somebody makes a joke at your expense, or your uncle brings up politics at the dinner table. It’s a more subtle kind of discomfort.

The image doesn’t quite ‘work’. It has no clear focal point, just the skewed angles of medieval buildings and this black form, barely visible, on the pavement. I like it, and yet I don’t. It doesn’t feel real, and I think that allows the viewer to bring their imagination to the image. Is this dark shape one of the many ghosts that are rumoured to roam York? Or is it just a sinister figure lurking in the shadows?

The point of this image is not to look at it and give an answer to those questions. As soon as you try to find something ‘concrete’ in the frame, the whole thing falls apart. To me this image represents the feeling of walking down a dark street, uncertain at what lurks in the shadows, but then in making that judgement I am bringing my own feelings and anxieties into the frame. I would be curious to know what others think.


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