Children leaving the Orthodox School in Mosul. (Photo on 23 April 1990)
Monday 23rd April 1990 - MOSUL
…The streets are too narrow and tall to see the church from, so when we emerge at the south I nip into the “Nation Complaint Office” and a soldier takes us back into the residential quarter, and a few yards away into a small square.
To the south is the Syrian Catholic Archbishopric, to the east is the rebuilt Armenian church, with its characteristic script, and to the west is the Orthodox church and school: all in one huddle.
A man agrees to us going into the Syrian Church first. It is old but not elaborate or with incense, and has a strange, serious relief of Madonna and child in stone, unlike any other I know. The altars are set back behind a wall with solid wooden double doors and a grille. There is a middle-aged woman in black from head to foot with tattooed hands who turns on lights for us and sits with us.
At 2 o’clock the Orthodox School on the other side of the square starts to break up. It is behind a magnificent portal and the courtyard is used for netball. The church is closed, although I can smell the incense through it. The children are very noisy and lively and well dressed and want to know if we are Christians. They are controlled by a small dignified woman with a beautifully featured face, not round and plump like the Arab girls, who is very matter of fact with us. The children eventually disperse leaving us with a strong sense of good fortune in discovering all this so opportunely.
On our way out we run into a tall priest with goatee beard and black front buttoned soutane who is from the Syrian Catholic Church. He trained at the Oriental College in Rome thirty years ago and has been to England twice, once in 1960 and once in 1982. He speaks very good English and bows to Joan, particularly, with great respect…
The only way to build goodwill is by spending time together.
That I, or any man, should tell everything of himself, I hold to be impossible. Who could endure to own the doing of a mean thing? Who is there that has done none? But this I protest - that nothing that I say shall be untrue.
Black and white photography done well, with strong contrasts, and the intended subject dramatically highlighted in the composition, can be more striking than colour photography, which is why it still has its place.
But amateur black and white photography, in the days when colour film and printing were many times more expensive than black and white, was very often a case of second best.
You would be in a blazing summer day, on a vibrant greensward, having a wonderful time, and wanting to catch the moment.
And you got this. :-(
Ralph Vaughan Williams having a picnic with his wife.
Now, more than ever, I long to find the door in the wall.
"If ever that door offers itself to me again, I swore, I will go in out of this dust and heat, out of this dry glitter of vanity, out of these toilsome futilities. I will go and never return."
H G Wells The Door In The Wall