Here Staircase, Staircase

England – June 2019

On our-second-to-last day in London, we set about exploring some areas we had not gotten to before heading off to our Albania, Kosovo, and North Macedonia trip. One site I particularly want to explore is Tate Modern. I’ve seen two locations within the gallery on Instagram I’d like to try my hand at: the tall, slit windows that cast a striking reflection on the cement floor near one of the entrances, and the spiral staircase.

The slit windows are easy to find and, while it’s a cloudy day without the sun’s rays creating the arresting reflection, I see what I can do. These days Instagram inspirations tend to motivate copying but I’m more interested in seeing what I can do differently. Besides, I’ve always liked a challenge. After a while spent shooting from different angles and heights, I set off to find the spiral staircase.

After perusing a few floors, I come to the realization that I have no idea where it is. I connect to Tate’s wifi and see someone tagging the location as Tate Library, which causes a minor panic. Am I in the wrong place? Where is the Tate Library? Why am I panicking when everyone else tags it as Tate Modern? Who is this nitwit tagging it as Tate Library?

Mild panic over, I try a new approach: If I were designing the gallery and wanted to put in a spiral staircase, where would I put it? Answer: the ground floor. So, I head back down to the ground floor and this time, not being distracted by the slit windows, easily find the staircase. Most images I’ve seen include a solo person in a prime spot in a well composed shot, though I sometimes suspect it’s the photographer’s spouse or friend. I focus more on images without people as I’m more interested in the shadows and curves. Besides, my wife is in the gift shop.

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