passing on the torch

So yesterday was the day the London 2012 Torch Relay reached London. A fact that I wasn't actually aware of until the day before, because I hadn't been really following events. I had realised I was double booked on Tuesday, and Maralee was able to switch to Thursday - which was one of those crazy days when it seemed all these unrelated friends wanted to meet at the same time in different places for different reasons, but I was seeing Maralee. And then in the morning she and a friend were going to try to catch the relay around Wandsworth, then we were going to meet in Battersea Park.. but they switched back to Wandsworth, and we decided to meet next week. 

And I realised at 12:30 that a) I was on my own and b) I could just pop on over - by foot - to the King's Road, and try to catch the Torch passing.

Life is so random, you know? Beautiful hot day, camera in tow, on the phone with my mom, get to King's Road, turn left. If I had left a few minutes earlier, and turned down the street I had planned to, I'd have had the Ab Fab girls passing me. But instead, just before 'my' torch bearer, I saw, in an open truck, a young boy, holding a torch. Looking ahead, with the most intense seriousness. It was just a moment passing  - I was shooting people, cars, cyclists - whatever caught my eye - but that moment I didn't capture on film. (Okay, not film: on digital). But it was a moment that will stay with me always. This little boy, like a buddha or a prince (the buddha, actually, was both). Everything good seemed encapsulated in that boy.

And as I heard others say: it really was kind of quick. A lot of fuss - a LOT of fuss - trucks and people and sound and anticipation (and I can show you those shots, too, another time) and then, my man. Whizzing by, with a smile. And the crowd cheering. It really was quite exciting!

His name, it turns out, is Robert Groves, and I didn't know if he was an athlete, or a normal person, so when I googled him, this is what I found: click here. And I was so moved by his application, I am printing it here, verbatim:

'Bob spreads happiness and hope. Bob was an addict but now teatotal fit and healthy. An inspiration to all that know and meet him.I want to Run a Marathon under 3 hours 15 mins so that i can achieve a good for age in the London Marathon i come from a very overweight and unhealthy background and have already run a marathon in 3 hours 30 mins. I believe that if i can do it i will help others to see that they can do it to.'

Funny timing, too: I've been using the phrase 'passing on the torch' for over a year now, whenever - which happens all the time - people contact me about street shooting. 'I'm passing on the torch to the next generation of street style photographers', I say, when I decline to go to fashion week or do street style. But then a lovely young woman I haven't yet met, named Natasha Lee, pulled me out of retirement last week, for an affilliate of Elle called glo.com. And my first piece for them went live yesterday. You can see it here, and I'll be doing posts on those shots, and more, over the days and weeks to come. In the meantime, though, shown here is a girl I saw near me on the King's Road as the torch went by - you can see her in the BBC footage, we were around 13:45 - she got my vote for 'best street style look' of the day. I love floaty dresses and tough guy boots. Classic summer yin yang look.

This is such a jumble of a post - the more I fuss with it, the longer and more jumbled it's getting - but my husband is talking, and I want to get it up before the Opening Ceremony begins. My husband thinks he's too cool for that stuff but - who knows - maybe he'll grace the cat and I with his presence in front of the telly.

Lovely weekend, all! xoxo


LeahB said...

Ahhh, we're not getting it "live" over here. :(

I've seen pics on the DM of smokestacks for the industrial revolution, and some thatched cottages. I think I'll enjoy this opening ceremony more than any other. I wasn't into the "out there" performances of the previous ones that have made me feel like I was tripping on something while I watched them.

I think it will be great if the Queen shows up to light the torch while wearing a little zippy track suit and some tennies!

mtg said...

Wow, what an inspirational story. I'm not following any current events (sadly) so no I didn't know about Robert Groves. Truly inspirational.

Are you going to be posting your Elle street style pieces here? I hope so.

Come over if you can and check out my feature of the Georgian jewelry designer Teya Beradze please :)


lawrence said...

I swear that girl in the flower dress and biker boots is Mary Charteris?