Modernity and Tradition in Britain

london-runners

Describe this scene photographed on the banks of the River Thames in London.

What elements attract your attention? What contrasts are underlined?

In what ways does this correspond to your view of London today?

 Describe this scene photographed on the banks of the River Thames in London. 

This scene, photographed on the banks of the River Thames in London, shows a group of athletes of both sexes and of mixed origins running along the river… There are various buildings in the background including the London Eye, a well-known, but relatively recently installed, tourist attraction… On the right is a fairly old building (the London County Hall), while to the left of the London Eye, a modern tower block (adjacent to the Royal Festival Hall) can be seen… The runners all seem concentrated on the race and are running side by side, looking ahead in the same direction… Among the runners, looking straight at the camera is a guard in uniform, and a second guard can be seen on the right, half out of the photo…

What elements attract your attention? What contrasts are underlined?

What strikes the viewer immediately is the guard in his red and black uniform running alongside the athletes… The contrast between the runners and the guard is underlined by the fact that the athletes are all wearing light running gear, whereas he is in uniform with his bearskin on his head… He may be included in the photo as a symbol of traditional Britain (normally he would be seen parading in front of Buckingham Palace) and of modernity (the fact that he is black in an élite army corps, steeped in tradition, may indicate that society in Britain is becoming more open and tolerant)… There are other contrasts in the photo, for instance old and new architecture and the mixed origins of the runners… So, on the one hand this is a photo of modern-day London but, on the other hand, the overall impression given by the photographer is a combination of tradition and modernity…

 

 

 

 

 

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