For a while there I considered this photo to be the best I’d ever taken. Upon seeing this shot, some hours after taking it, I fell immediately in love with it and remember going so far as to e-mail myself the file in case of some unforeseen disaster, like being mugged and robbed, or flipping out on mushrooms.
This photo was taken on the 4th of February, 2007 at the central train station in Antwerp, Belgium on a freezing cold day. I had just arrived from The Netherlands, where I’d spent a couple of very strange days doing what was only natural in Holland – eating shrooms, smoking weed and visiting art galleries to stare in wonder at Dutch Masters like Frans Hals and Johannes Vermeer.
The Lonely Planet made Antwerp sound fairly interesting, but I never made it very far into town. Indeed, inadequately clothed (I was on my way to Paris via Brussels to meet my then GF and, whilst carrying ample layers, had not, out of either blind hope or uncharacteristic ill-preparedness, brought a coat), I made it about two hundred metres down the road before feeling the pinch and turning back. I know only too well that very few cities look appealing around their central train station (are there any that do?) but on a cold, grey day, Antwerp seemed so large and inhospitable that I longed for the quaint intimacy I knew Bruges could offer. I still had, as my father used to say, “the wherewithal” to get seriously high, and figured this experience would be considerably more pleasurable when safely ensconced in a medieval town.
I took the next train to Bruges, where, sure enough, I flipped out on mushrooms, but not at the expense of my camera, or indeed, this photograph. I still treasure it, though the tiny, half-degree tilt in the uprights on the right side of the frame never ceases to bug me. Such is life.