Pedestrian traffic

I dipped back into Goffman’s ‘Relations in Public‘ this week, as a tasty little treat between Candy Crush lives. He writes in the preface; ‘Throughout the papers in this volume unsubstantiated assertions are made regarding the occurrence of certain social practices in certain times and among peoples of various kinds.’ Hilarious. The man is a legend.

I love his reflections on how we ‘co-mingle’ in public places. Mostly in an orderly fashion with our ‘use space’ commonly respected and reciprocated. He kicks off with some reflections around how we manage to walk around, often in crowds, without colliding into one another. And how what seems like a random activity – hundreds of people walking along Oxford Street, for example – is ordered and social. We constantly ‘scan’, ‘body check’, exchange ‘critical signs’ to signal a manoeuvre and engage in ‘near-simultaneous parallel adjustments’. We ‘step and slide’ through tacit agreement with others present making an often seamless display of togetherness. We could wrong foot people, or not play by these rules. We could engage in collisions and disruption but tend not to. Why?

The Goffmeister says the gain to be achieved doing this isn’t much, so trust is sustained.

The reason I’ve been revisiting this fantabulous book is because orderliness, manoeuvres and lack of collision are always visible in the photos I snap when I’m out.  Love him.

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Waiting for the train

Some mornings I walk along to the station next to where I work to buy some lunch.  And photograph this space. I love the light, the patterns and what people are doing here. Spectacularly compelling. Well for me, anyway. But then I bloody love railway stations.

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Pap street, pop stars and the guitar guy

Wandering around town earlier, with Rich. Camera in hand. Sun shining.
Anticipation“, I said, cheerfully. “That’s one of the things I learnt on the street photography course.
Mmmmm“, said Rich. Most likely boredy bored with the whole street photography thing. “There’s some big cameras over there look“, he said, pointing towards three men standing together and staring down Cornmarket.
Oh yeah,” I said, snapping some long haired guy with a violin and his girlfriend. Totally oblivious to the unfolding drama.
Something’s going on. They’re looking for someone. Look.”
Eh? Who?”
Those men with the big cameras….
And they were. Paparazzi. In Oxford?  A huge Chinese pop star apparently. Though I didn’t see him.  We did catch up with guitar guy on the way back though. Circles of time and place, and all that.