Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Stealing the Soul

In London one is absolutely spoiled for glorious gothic and classical architecture and sculpture. In the U.S. you just don't see much of this

or this.

(in spite of my animosity towards religion, I'm a sucker for beautiful old churches, and detour to them whenever I catch sight of one)

(if I had time I would flip over a tall picture to show the amazing tower that is a part of Westminster Cathedral here)

The catch with a lot of these cultural sites is that you are not allowed to take pictures, which is a restriction I observe. In banning photography, the proprietors are helping to preserve the value of the moment, of being in the presence of something, which a picture by necessity diminishes. Even looking at authorized photographs of the inside of, say, Parliament or Westminster Abbey could do nothing to prepare you for the sheer volume of art contained within; a photograph would just cheapen it. So it's nice to see them making an effort to retain its grandeur.

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