In early December I spent a few hours over the course of a couple of days attempting to take shots inside Greenwich Market. As the result of a comment to my last post asking if it was still there I had a vague idea of putting together a Five Frames about it. The photographic muse was not with me on either occasion and I came away expecting to be disappointed with the results.

I got through the remainder of the film in January, in Soho, while we were there to visit the Chris Killip exhibition at The Photographers’ Gallery. As soon as I had developed the film, contrary to my expectations, one of the Greenwich images jumped out at me even as it was removed from the spiral. This was the one I immediately entitled The Film Noir Cake Stand. In spite, or because, of its minimalism could it tell or serve to illustrate a story?

A Story Within A Story

Graham Greene had two classifcations for his works: firstly there were the serious Catholic novels, and then there were the “entertainments”. Entertainment is something of a misnomer as many of these supposedly lighter books have dark themes featuring tormented or downright unpleasant characters, romans noirs, if you like. Think Brighton Rock or The Third Man as instances of this, you may know the film adaptations if not the original books. Although lesser known perhaps, The Ministry of Fear falls into this category. I need only to quote from the blurb on the back of my 1964 Penguin copy to establish the connection with The Film Noir Cake Stand.

“Arthur Rowe’s was a mind Ham-strung by guilt… He was standing aside from the war until he happened to guess the weight of a cake at a charity fête. From that moment he was the quarry of malign and shadowy forces”

The stuff of films noirs if ever there was.

A Brief Afterword

Incidentally I was trying Tri-X for the first time in my fifty-five years of playing at being a photographer and with a yellow filter I was hoping for just this classic cinematographic effect.

Untouched apart form cropping to my favoured 4:3 ratio this one image made the whole roll worthwhile.

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