Wednesday, October 07, 2009

This is boring

As amused as I was that I could say I’ve been to Pisa but didn’t see the Leaning Tower, my reporting responsibilities overruled my sense of humour and I got up early on the morning of my flight to dash up to the Piazza dei Miracoli.  Lonely Planet compares this square, which also features Pisa’s Romanesque cathedral and baptistry, to Venice's Piazza San Marco as one of Italy’s most memorable.  Having spent a full fifteen minutes there and not (yet) having been to Venice, I can say with complete authority that that’s rubbish.  It’s boring.  Apart from visiting these monuments there’s nothing to do.  The piazza is all grass, surrounded by a wall and a street.  There is no reason to linger, and indeed, nobody does.  It is surprisingly sterile.  And though I probably would have entered the cathedral had I had time, I don’t go in for tourist compulsions like climbing the Leaning Tower.  I climbed the Eiffel Tower once, but only after I’d already been to Paris before, and I didn’t find it especially memorable.  It’s not even good for a photograph; high panoramas or distant landscapes are also boring.

The art of photography is similar to the art of writing well: the writer should suggest the whole with just a detail, and allow the reader’s imagination to complete the picture.  Landscapes are too vast and any subject is lost in the innumerable details.  A good photograph doesn’t have too many competing subjects.  There seems to be an inverse relationship between scale and interest: panoramas make as dull pictures as an entire chapter of description makes dull reading.

Hello?  Are you still there?

1 comment:

Mark said...

Sorry? What was the question?