I've just come back from Old Bond Street this morning, to the spot where I've shot the same shop windows at various times: reflections of myself against the genius that is Alexander McQueen's creations. Mr. Dot used to ask me, why do I keep shooting these 'self portraits' in shop windows, and I couldn't explain. It just made me happy. I felt like I was connecting with something so joyful: being part of something that came from one mind pushing the envelope of creativity to its max. It was like watching Shakespeare write.
Today, those windows were black.
Yesterday, my husband happened to have passed Alexander McQueen's Old Bond Street store. Flowers had gathered, but the shop windows were still filled with his creations. I headed over there first thing this morning, with the rush hour crowd, on a morning that seemed so dark, somber, and strangely, quiet. People were going to work. Everyone stopped, looked in, honoured the man for a moment in their heart, then moved on.
This is London, and they keep the streets clean, and the flowers were gone. I hope they were taken away by his family and staff, and not swept away. But all that remained were the a scattering of lilies.
They were arranged so beautifully, on the pavement, that I couldn't help but think that Lee would have liked their arrangement. I watched the first people bring flowers, there's time for that, later. For now, I just want to show you what I saw when I first arrived.
There are so many kinds of photographers, who shoot for all kinds of reasons: tourists with camera phones, artists, papparazzi.. and then there are some who come to bear witness.
I came to bear witness, and yet found myself shooting as an artist. I couldn't help myself, I found the light so melancholy, my bare fingers freezing in the rain, and these few lilies that had lingered after all the flowers were taken away.. and I started thinking of how Art begats Art. How a creative being like Lee Alexander McQueen inspired countless other people.. designers, yes, but also us regular people, in how we dress, how we see light and colour and shape.
I found myself shooting the same lily, over and over again, and other people were, too: this beautiful living thing, which had remained on the pavement after the others had gone. In a day or two, it will wither and die, and disappear. But for today, it is alive, and isn't that the whole point of photography, of art? To bear witness and say: this flower once existed. I saw it.
I was here.
Taped to the door, with the writing starting to run like teardrops in the rain, was one note, from someone named Jordan.
Yes, Jordan: he was a true genius. And he will be missed.