Friday, 25 January 2013

Meeting and Greeting







I imagine my friendships as a spider’s web. Strands reach out in different directions; some towards college, others towards London or other parts of the country. A few have to stretch across oceans and bypass countries or continents to reach bloggers in America or Australia. Occasionally the horizontal skeins join one friend to another as lives overlap, often in unexpected ways. For me, the existence of this disparate collection of individuals and social spheres is a continual source of pleasure.
I’m always looking to add further threads to the web. Each unfurls the possibility of something new – another person to talk to, work with, enjoy the company of. They arise in a number of ways. The most obvious is mutual acquaintances, either introduced in person or recommended by a friend. A few were lucky chance encounters on residential courses or during events. Many have been found through London Fashion Week, with several street style photographers and other individuals met across the cobbles. Recently I’ve had the privilege to meet two bloggers slightly younger than me in separate cities, after long strings of emails. In both instances it was delight to move from computer screen to face-to-face encounter.
Such a diverse range of social interactions proves the irrelevance of age. Exchanges take place with people from fourteen to sixty-plus and carry a common theme – curiosity about and interest in other human beings. There’s a phrase that encapsulates this for me, taken from E.M Forster’s ‘Howards End’: “Only connect.” I most value the friendships that cut through the shallows and allow for this sense of connection – of conversation and debate, shared interests and contrasting opinions.
Talk between old friends has a different context than that of new acquaintances. One is characterized by ease and familiarity, the other often revolves around discovery. To find such new encounters, sometimes you have to take a plunge – be the brave one by igniting conversation with the person sitting next to you.
Then there are the other approaches demanded by pursuits such as street style photography. I experienced a nervous flutter on waylaying well-dressed individuals for Oxfam at Hay Festival last summer. Despite brandishing my camera, it still took a deep breath of courage to ask if I could photograph the passersby whose shoes, layers or smiling eyes caught my attention.
With photographer Fred however, I was in front of the camera for the images above. I met him after someone I know mentioned several times that he would “have to” get us to do some work together. I followed it up and several weeks later we met on a freezing afternoon at the top of Primrose Hill. I had little idea what he looked like, trusting instead that he would recognize me. His camera was a good indicator though. We chatted between shots, me taking very gentle steps in the green Office heels as we crisscrossed paths and chose suitable benches. A quick removal of the coat to reveal the sixties dress beneath was chilly enough to require a warm pot of tea afterwards. We discussed aspirations, inspirations, respective A' Levels and Cindy Sherman. As I walked back through the ever-darkening afternoon I paid special interest to the people around me: the dog walkers, the families, the joggers, the tourists, the couples, the lone strollers. Each undoubtedly had their own web of threads spinning out their daily encounters. 

You can see more of Fred's work here

30 comments:

Louise Mc said...

It's fabulous how blogging can bring people together, I think. I've been lucky enough to make real life friends of people I would never have met without writing my blog. I love the dress, and the photographs are fantastic.

Willow said...

I love what you said about your friendships being like a spider's web. It really is wonderful that we have the ability to talk to people on the other side of the world. Living rurally and being home-schooled makes me depend on the Internet for social interaction. My best friend lives in Colorado (which unfortunately means we've never met even after talking since I was 11 and she was 13.) And you're absolutely right: age doesn't matter, I actually connect better with people much older than me (most people my age don't exactly like debating, talking politics or feminism, ethics or animal rights.)

It's wonderful that you've been able to meet fellow bloggers and like minded people through bloggging, it's part of the reason I started blogging (even if I haven't made any friends yet, I hope to in the future.)

Fred's photography is excellent, those first two images are especially beautiful. And what a fabulous ensemble! the dress is gorgeous, and those green velvet beauties are among some of the most beautiful shoes I've ever seen.

CassieInTheRain said...

I love the photos. Great blog. :)

Sasha said...

That coat is co cute, reminds me of an education or some sixties movie.

shipshapeandbristolfashion said...

Friendships change and evolve over time and after a certain point (university, college, school) opportunities to meet and bond with new people can become less frequent.

Through blogging I've met 'in real life' and online many new and exciting people. Some of these are passing encounters, others are budding friendships.

I think it's always lovely to read about others who have found friendship through blogging - friendships start with a shared interest but become something else, such as bridesmaids, holiday companions or pen pals.

Fashionistable said...

I am loving how street style photography has expanded my friendships and horizons too. I also love the large diversity of people and range of ages of my new friends and acquaintances. I have been looking forward to seeing this series. Very lovely they are too. Xxxx

kaarlijnx-x said...

wow, I love these pictures and your outfit xx

daisychain said...

Oh you look so beautiful in these photos Rosalind! x

Francesca Cassidy said...

You write beautifully. A pleasure to read.

Angharad Poole said...

i love the very last photo!annie x

www.cheramiblogger.blogspot.co.uk

Amber said...

Lovely writing. I know what you mean about being able to always find new people on the web. That is also part of the reason I started blogging. Well, I like to write, but also because I like to be immersed in people that are interested in the same things as I am.

Fred's work is gorgeous. Love these photos. And that peacoat! Beautiful... Great staple for winter.

xox, amber

Jean at www.drossintogold.com said...

Beautifully said. I agree wholeheartedly and treasure those threads, both strong and delicate. I was on a high the other day because I'd met someone by chance and we just connected for that moment. I find I'm uplifted by eye contact and a smile, particularly when it's unexpected and there's no agenda. From the very youngest to the most senior, it's special, and affirms our connection.

Your photos are glorious and I love the shades of green.

The Foolish Aesthete said...

The Web certainly lives up to its name, connecting us all through digital codes I cannot comprehend. I'm so glad to have discovered you through it! But it surprises me how physical webs of friendship can continue to weave themselves, no matter how old we get or where we move to. Just this past year, after our move from one neighborhood to another, I've made some new dear friends. And I somehow thought I already had my defined set of friendships from the past.

We just had one of these new friends and her family over for afternoon tea/coffee yesterday. We couldn't believe our bond built on an appreciation of archaeology, history, art, cinema, literature and a deep interest in the development of human society and its progress or regress. (We spent many years in NYC not finding enough people with similar interests!) They were meant to stay for two hours. We didn't stop talking until after dark, spending time we didn't expect poring through our old photo albums from various archaeological sites in Asia Minor or trying to solve the world's problems from our dining table!

I can't believe you are just about to embark on your university adventures. Such a hopeful period in life. You'll have an explosion of webs from that perch in Oxford! I still marvel at my having friends in so many different countries and continents - with friendships forged from those youthful days when all we had to think about were our essays and exams, or when our next visit to London would be. - J xxx

Pamela RG said...

Amazing photos. You have gorgeous style. I just read the feature about you on Vanessa Jackman's blog. The photos are beautiful! I am following now on GFC. Pamela http://thestyleandtravel-journals.blogspot.com

J. Ericson said...

Great first photo! And the post itself.

J. Ericson said...

Great first photo! And the post itself.

Vix said...

Breathtaking images and words I can agree with wholeheartedly. For someone who once thought the internet was for saddos with no life I can now claim to have met some of my best friends through it! x

THE DIVINITUS said...

It came out beautifully.

odysseyhome.com said...

Very pleasing photos. Fred did a great job.
Good analogy, friendships as spider webs.

Lydia said...

The older I get, the more my "friend web" changes. I think I am pickier about who I count as true, close friends and we're tighter knit, but my experiences from work and socializing in adult ways has also woven a loose, brilliant network of all sorts of random characters I've connected with and can call up even if we're not super close friends.

Vanessa, Take only Memories said...

These are some beautiful shots that Fred took of you!
That's what I love about the internet: connecting to people that I wouldn't usually get to "meet". :)

Lauren said...

I agree with you about this huge spider web of connections we can make in this new new world! Everyday it fascinates me that I can be in communication with people from all over the world via my tiny little blog!

(='.'=)
-Lauren at adorn la femme
http://adornlafemme.blogspot.com

Sacramento Amate said...

I am so glad and honoured to be part of your cobweb, my magic Rosalinda.
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Melanie said...

Cindy Sherman? I would have liked to be there for that conversation. I enjoyed your musings on your web of friendships. I see them as silky strands with dew. Some of my friends are like autumn leaves that swirl around in ghostly tornadoes then disappear and reappear...
Your photos are beautiful.

losttinafairytale said...

I really love your outfit, it's perfect!

x
http://losttinafairytale.blogspot.nl/

Not Just A Pretty Dress said...

Rosalind, you described the difference in the approach of friends and acquaintances beautifully: "One is characterized by ease and familiarity, the other often revolves around discovery". Both friends and acquaintances have such an important role because we live a 'community life'. Approaching acquaintances require curiosity, but also the energy to know more about human character and expose yourself. It can be exciting and frightening at the same time. I really hope that one day we will have the chance to meet! Have a nice day, Caterina

Emalina said...

Such beautiful photographs, Roz, and I love your writing about friendships old and new, young and old. Really insightful and a lovely encouragement to us all to keep stoking those fires of friendship, whether we've known eachother for years or are venturing into that realm of discovery.

Ivana Džidić said...

What a great article. I really like your metaphors for friendship. Nice piece of writing indeed.

On the other note, the outfit is very cute, especially the green shoes. The photos are lovely and you look beautiful.

FASHION TALES said...

I agree, and like your accurate analogy regarding friendships like a "spider's web," and the relationships built upon the internet. It's amazing, I've enjoyed so many bloggers and although I've only been fortunate to meet several of my favourites, I do think of them to be wonderful connections and friends. These black and white shots are sublime! :) /Madison

styleeast said...

Lovely to see these photos taken later the same day I saw you, and in a quite different setting. Looking forward to seeing you again very soon! xx