Sunday, March 11, 2007
The world at night
The thing which strikes me most about this photo is the lack of light from Africa. In 2000, I flew back from South Africa overnight in a British Airways 747. The skies were clear for most of the journey, and I had a window-seat. I was able to track the progress of the flight, and correlate it with what I saw out the window, on the small screen set into the back of the chair in front. Thus engaged, (and with various films to watch as well), I was completely absorbed for almost the entire journey, and slept for only an hour or so. Flying North over central Africa, all you saw below were the scattered, isolated lights of small villages and homesteads; coasting over Southern France, I saw Alpine villages adhering to valley-sides like phosphorescent lichen; and finally, passing over Kent and South-East England in the dark, breakfast hours of a Monday morning in early Autumn, I saw sad snakes of cars, filling A-roads which shone with ethereal light in the foggy atmosphere. What could be so important to these people, I wondered, that they were willing, before sunrise, and on a daily basis, to subject themselves to this repetitious frustration? It was the futility and the stupidity of it that I saw when I looked down.