Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Flâneur Blues

Today marks the end of the Cornwall shots. So it's a move from the old Royal market town of Penzance to Dublin city centre. It was just by coincidence (can there be any such thing?) that I came across the term flâneur after I took this shot. Popularised by Baudelaire and adopted by Walter Benjamin, the term refers to someone (a perceptive observer) who strolls through the city streets. Susan Sontag's definition of the photographer as flâneur deserves quotation in full: "The photographer is an armed version of the solitary walker, reconnoitering, stalking, cruising the urban inferno, the voyeuristic stroller who discovers the city as a landscape of voluptuous extremes. Adept of the joys of watching, connoisseur of empathy, the flâneur finds the world "picturesque". I think that's a security person looking at the camera and I feel he is not fond of les flâneurs. But this is just about St Stephen's Green, a shopping centre and above all, James Bond.