Mean Streets

This was intended to accompany the two images used for this week’s Photo Challenge but anything less “companionable” is hard to imagine; this is solitary, lonely and bleak. The saving grace is the afternoon sun which casts long shadows as the isolated figure walks home into a harsh bright light:

Cobbled streets

“You don’t make up for your sins in church; you do it in the streets; you do it at home. The rest is bulls–t, and you know it.” – from Martin Scorsese’s 1973 film, Mean Streets.


  1. safia · July 3, 2013

    Stunning – you get the feeling that those cobblestones were wet with rain a few hours previous to this shot.

    • northumbrianlight · July 3, 2013

      Thanks very much, that may be true – it was a long time ago. I like the connection – After the Rain – a 1969 Muddy Waters album.

  2. Brian Hughes · July 3, 2013

    Now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall.

  3. Jo · July 3, 2013

    Great shot, love the mood you have created. 🙂

  4. Meanderer · July 3, 2013

    I love this: the light, tones, and composition. I don’t get a feeling of bleakness and loneliness from it. There is an uplifting feeling for me – of hopefulness and promise – as the figure walks with the light shining on her.

  5. cd1972 · July 3, 2013

    Wow, amazing shot!!

    • northumbrianlight · July 3, 2013

      Many thanks, glad you liked it. I only recently scanned this image from a 120 roll film negative taken in 1977 – I had never ‘printed’ it before, not even on a contact sheet…..I was quite surprised by the results.

      • cd1972 · July 3, 2013

        Really great finding after 36 years 🙂

      • Meanderer · July 3, 2013

        I agree with cd1972. How amazing that this is from a film negative in 1977. That year was one of those ‘rites of passage’ years for me. I took one roll of film that year and never got it developed. Who knows where it might be now!

      • northumbrianlight · July 3, 2013

        There is real excitement in discovering and working with negatives you had previously ignored. For all its many instant advantages, digital removes much from the creative process by eliminating that interim stage and by-passing the joys of the darkroom. It also removes the potential for ‘discovery’ many years later.

      • Meanderer · July 3, 2013

        Yes – I guess digital photography can be rather like the instantaneous and empty Twitter and Facebook ‘here now’ ‘look at this now’ been and gone communication. The creative and inspirational digital photographers, therefore, will be the ones who can combine the instant with the distant ……. maybe 🙂

  6. rabirius · July 3, 2013


  7. meticulousmick · July 3, 2013

    Robin this is starting to be a great series of images – am looking forward to the next posting. MM 😃

    • northumbrianlight · July 3, 2013

      Thanks Mick – the trouble is there are not that many more on this subject – there were only 12 exposures on a 120 roll film so you had to be frugal and think before you pressed the shutter.

  8. Pedro Holderbaum · July 4, 2013

    Great shot!!!!

  9. greenmackenzie · July 5, 2013

    Beautiful light, and I find it hopeful….light at the end of a bleak street. How amazing that you took it all those years ago, and it was sitting waiting patiently for you to look. I wonder what this street looks like now 🙂

    • northumbrianlight · July 5, 2013

      Many thanks. Yes, Meanderer saw it as a positive image as well – I thought it looked vaguely reminiscent of eastern bloc streets before the velvet revolution which is maybe why I saw it in a negative light. There was a great deal of demolition going on (some more pictures to follow some time) so I guess it will be unrecognisable today. I did of course start taking photos when I was still very young 🙂
      There is a ‘sister’ image at

  10. sustainabilitea · July 5, 2013

    This may not be “companionable” but it’s a wonderful shot.


  11. Graham Stephen · July 13, 2013

    Wonderful narrative quality.

    • northumbrianlight · July 13, 2013

      Many thanks Graham, much appreciated.
      BTW your comment was in my spam folder – Askimet seems to be over zealous with everyone at the moment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s