Cities are painted whores, all construction and illusion, and London is the sweetest soul-stroking siren of them all. Highly trained, wickedly wise, her rings clack and flash as she gathers you into her brilliant, foxy fold. Up close, soporific with smog, high on anonymity, you see the luminescent powder collecting in the ancient folds of her skin. I stalk her Lotus-eater's land, from gallery to playhouse, library to bar, and immerse, rather than confront, myself. But sheltering in the educated embrace of that cold courtesan, Kensington, The Shell Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition is a bracing blast of vision. Retreating from the festering fuzz of the streets, you are faced with crystal clarity, vital vistas, bold iconic shapes. Space, shape, texture, movement, life. Lion, worm; curve of beak, crack of jaw.
Only extrinsicly exotic, the eyes, the impulses and the ruthless rules of these worlds are scarily and intimately familiar. Ripping through London's worn-napped velvet cloth, they hold the mirror up to human nature, and confront us with our puny, puling, limited lack. Big-skulled, shrunken-limbed, we see what beauty really is; death, flying, fight, and fear. I stood bedecked, and shocked with shame.
I bought a nice magnetic bookmark of a stoat.