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Photography News

Funky Frome

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Bath Street, Frome, Somerset
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A sculptor – Richard Wentworth, for the art aficionados – once said to me ‘the best sculptures are on the street’, meaning that the things people create for all manner of routine and exceptional reasons in public space are often more interesting than the things artists wilfully produce for aesthetic appreciation in galleries. I don’t know if this qualifies, but I think it has a certain charm. It is just a close-up of a bit of street – Bath Street in Frome, Somerset – that might otherwise be passed by unnoticed.

Whereas Frome has changed rapidly and radically over the last few years, this dates back to a time when things changed so slowly that it was worth a street trader actually having the name of his trade built into his shopfront in ceramic tiles, for keeps. I can’t remember what this store does now – I was more taken with this trace of history than what the current shop sells.

There’s something charming, too, about those old-style, glass-and-cast-iron gratings, which let light into the basements of these old places and wear their history in raised lettering scuffed smooth by a million footfalls.

The sun, being low in the sky at the time, did me a favour too, casting that beautiful raking light across the scene and throwing all into sharp relief. Of course, the origin of the word ‘photography’ is ‘drawing with light’, and I guess this illustrates that point.

So, yes, maybe the best sculptures are on the street, but they sometimes need a bit of input from nature to see them at their finest.