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“The shot of the old lady was taken in the street on my way to Heathrow,” says Fionn Reilly. “I got out of the car and asked her to pose. She obliged. She is the human embodiment of the place.”

The place is Middlesex, and it’s the focal point of Reilly’s latest show, “Middlesex: Mundane Photographs from Metroland,” a series of photos that represent his relationship with a familiar place, where mundane, circa 1930s London rooftops glisten in the daylight.

“Perhaps it is my soul that I’m showing,” says Reilly. “I try to capture the atmosphere of the place in an obviously subjective way. The photos are mostly for my own consumption, but if the viewer can get the feel of my sensibility through them, that is good.”

Born in London, Reilly’s distinguished career includes work for the Los Angeles Times, GQ, the London Daily Mirror, High Times, Playboy, Esquire, and others. Locally, he shoots for Ulster Publishing and Chronogram.

Reilly points to the poetry of John Betjeman as a prime resource for “getting a sense” of the setting in which he shot his latest show. “I nearly called the show ‘Middlesex,’” says Reilly, noting Betjeman’s plaintive poem “Middlesex,” excerpted below, as illustrative of the former suburb that was subsumed into the city of London in 1965.

Gaily into Ruislip Gardens
Runs the red electric train,
With a thousand Ta’s and Pardon’s
Daintily alights Elaine;
Hurries down the concrete station
With a frown of concentration,
Out into the outskirt’s edges
Where a few surviving hedges
Keep alive our lost Elysium—rural Middlesex again.

Excerpt from John Betjeman’s “Middlesex”

The opening for “Middlesex: Mundane Photographs from Metroland” will be held on April 7 from 5 to 7pm at KMoCA in Kingston. The show will run until April 28.

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