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Stairs in St Austell; 23 Oct 2012.
I can hear it now – “but Hell’s down and these stairs are going up, shouldn’t this be the Stairway To Heaven? FATman’s had one to many of those full English breakfasts … all that saturated fat … saturating his little grey cells … no good will come of it, I tell you … no good will come of it …”.
Well can I make a point or two? Ok, ignoring all the dissension and picking up on that one tiny “yes, please!”, here goes.
First, the stairs may appear to be ascending but the stout end of the handrail is a striking red – not sure that signifies anything heavenly.
Then, although the steps that we can see are ascending, they are twisting to the right and becoming smaller as they do so. And – trust me, I’m a doctor! – just around the corner they disappear altogether. So that any one bounding up them, sure of salvation and headed PDQ for those Heavenly Heights is in for a nasty shock. There is also the point that these stairs are floating in the air.
Its a bit like Mrs Poulteney in The French Lieutenant’s Woman, having The Pearly Gates slammed in her face and then turning around to see that the stairs by which she had ascended to them were gradually disappearing until, standing on air “she fell, flouncing and bannering and ballooning, like a shot crow, down to where her real master waited.”. You haven’t read this book? You should, its excellent – and I’m only a little biased by the fact that its takes place in a very favourite place of mine – Lyme Regis, on the Dorset coast.
Another possibility is that we are standing in Hell, looking at the bottom of the stairs.
But that last point can’t be true because, finally, I have to shoot myself in the foot by gently pointing out that this can’t be The Stairway To Hell, because Hell doesn’t exist. No? No. Hell is something made up by the Christian Church many, many moons ago as a means of bullying, intimidating and coercing its congregations into following its doctrine and rules ->>> if you don’t do as The Church says, you’ll roast in Hell for eternity! Good stuff, eh?
A dear friend of mine died recently after a long battle with cancer, and in the many discussions we had about life, death, the afterlife, etc, he told me that he was extremely relieved that, after he’d died, he knew that he wouldn’t have to explain himself or make any excuses for himself to any “higher” being. Trouble is though, once Hell had been thought of, that’s exactly what numberless millions of Christians through the ages have thought they’d have to do.
I read somewhere years ago that the three institutions that kept the masses down in Britain in the (not so distant) past were the Monarchy, the Army and … the Church. Few truer words have been written!
Anyway >>> back to the image >>> severe treatment in SEP has reduced this to a series of basic shapes derived from the handrail and the dark, vertical faces of the steps. As they rise, the stairs are twisting towards the right, so that progressively less is seen of the faces of the top three steps in particular. Hope you like the shot!
Nikon D700 with 70mm-300mm VR Nikkor at 70mm; 6400 ISO; conversion to mono and selective colour restoration in Silver Efex Pro 2, jumping off at the Silhouette + 0.5 EV preset.