The redundancy of telephone booths. Or Red-undancy, perhaps. Here they are, an elegant pair, in one of the main streets of Chester at a busy point very close to the Cathedral and the Town Hall, with people milling around in the sunshine... and yet they're empty, unused. Not even sullied by graffiti. I stood here for quite a while to see if anyone used them, and finally took a shot of two mobile phone-wielding young people, completely oblivious to yesterday's communications technology. I wondered if perhaps these handsome red booths are retained merely as decorative monuments to a bygone era.
Chester itself is an astounding large town, or small city, only 25km from Liverpool and almost on the border with Wales. It dates to Roman times, and today the four main streets - Northgate, Eastgate, Watergate and Bridge Street - follow the original Roman plan. Originally a Roman fort town (or 'castrum'), the walls today are almost completely intact, the Roman foundations providing the base for the medieval walls built on top. The photo was taken in Northgate Street, and the front wall of the cathedral can be seen in the background in the upper left corner.
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Critiques | Translate
SnapRJW (23656) 2013-08-25 5:12
Hello Andrew - This is a really cleverly seen shot and one that highlights the changes in lifestyle that the cell phone has brought about. I remember the time when going to the telephone box to make a call was quite normal and we often stood in line to use one. Eventually we had a phone installed at home but my parents were very strict about how often and for how long we could use it! Now nobody goes anywhere, it seems, without a phone in their hands. I could now begin a monolog on the evils of cell phones but I will spare you that! Suffice to say this is a super DL shot. Well composed and managed under quite strong light. I do like the fringe of dappled green above the telephone boxes, its a great contrast to the red.
Have a lovely day and warm regards Rosemary
snunney (72716) 2013-08-25 5:25
A cleverly conceived composition that has a story to tell about life in the modern age. These phone booths, which are indeed rather elegant, have been an anachronism in the UK for some years; most having been replaced by horrible glass and steel monstrosities that are often subject to vandalism. So far as your composition goes, I like the point of view and the juxtaposition between the two main protagonists. Captured under a good light and with excellent colours and sharpness.
daddo (20639) 2013-08-25 5:57
Hi Andrew. Soon the letterboxes will become a thing of the past.I have been thinking of photographing a little series and giving them personalities to reflect their appearance etc. Nice balance to the image which is a timely record of a society in transition. Lovely shade which beckons people on this summer day and makes the red stand out. Regards. Klaudio..
psamaddar (1089) 2013-08-25 8:15
Nice POV..well spotted and captured..good light and composition.
rbassin (13349) 2013-08-25 9:27
une superbe scène de rue, belle histoire de téléphones et d'abondance des moyens de communication.
Bel impact des cabines rouges.
holmertz (31302) 2013-08-25 11:49
This is the kind of observation of street-life and society that I love. How I would have liked to take this photo myself! This tells a lot about changes of life and behaviour, and apart from that the nice red phone-booths are very strong eye-catchers.
Regarding what Klausio says about letterboxes, they are still abundant in Sweden. However, last year in Tbilisi, as I wanted to send a few postcards, it took me hours to find a post office. I had to look around and ask a lot of people who made phone calls, asked their neighbours etc and finally told me that there actually was a post office in another part of the city, two or three Metro stops away. People only use email nowadays, was the explanation. In Georgia!
Royaldevon (21463) 2013-08-25 14:03
People watching can be so interesting. You have done well to capture these exponents of the mobile phone, without them being aware. These iconic phone boxes will become the 'must have' antiques of the future.
The walking figure has created a nice diagonal to the other phone user, whilst the rest has a sort of symmetry.
Lovely light control in this very sunny square. (Yes, we have had a summer in England, this year!)
My warm regards,
Glad you liked Chester. It is a most interesting city.
KristinsCamera (1895) 2013-08-25 18:43
so funny, i grew up with these and now that you mention it, andrew ~ i can't imagine going in one these days! you did well to point that out with this photograph. the red pair with their gold crowns are such a regal pair, and yet you're right, nobody notices them.
now if they were blue, i might be tempted to jump inside, just in case it was a tardis ;)
gildasjan (39558) 2013-08-26 6:02
Une belle image d'un des symboles de l'Angleterre.Linstant est décisif pour une image bien composée.
saxo042 (33926) 2013-08-26 8:43
A very funny picture with strong eye-catching red items. I read a letter to the editor for our local paper the other day, complaining on "walking telephone boxes" about pedestrians so absorbed in their phones that they bump into other people and cyclists an so on. Maybe these stationary phone booths have some advantages after all.
mjw364 (6142) 2013-08-26 10:10
Indeed it is hard to find a public phone box these days - I reckon these two are there for the tourists! Nice comment though on the way technology has moved on and changed our communication habits.
I know Chester very, very, well indeed. I had friends there and visited regularly. I once finished up in accident and emergency after spending the night in the nurses home when I was younger but that's another story!
Cricri (92185) 2013-08-26 10:29
Il est bien de garder ces cabines typiques de Angleterre, malgré la forte utilisation des GSM, belle scène actuelle bien présenter , top la couleur rouge des cabines
ktanska (22658) 2013-08-26 10:59
Doubling the effect surely makes more than double the result! Classic British phone booths are real design classics and I'm glad those are still maintained, even though they are rarely used. Those phone users don't recognize each other, and even in the background everybody seems to mind one's own business. Only that pirate pays attention to passer-bys... Wait, what? Pirate???
romanaa (7644) 2013-08-26 12:46
I just love the pun you have created and how your picture well illustrates it.
It seems the phone-boxes are going to disappear soon, what a pity, as almost no one needs them.
PiotrF (2380) 2013-08-26 14:46
Nice view of Daily Life!This is well seen. Very nice picture, taken with high quality.
Lovely presentation, splendid colours, pleasant to look at.
emka (64144) 2013-08-26 15:38
These English red telephone boots are so beautiful but indeed, who use them when (almost) everybody has a mobile. I used the public phones for very long time. I waited for my own telephone at home 23 (yes, twenty three) years. If I wanted to call, i had to look for a telephone and often then wait in a queue. But I could do it, no one could call me. It was terrible. Now you can have a mobile in a few minuted. time changed..
Very fine composition with the boy chatting and a girl pensive. I spotted a pirate behind the boots. Who is he? Somewhere in England I saw the red booth used as a small library but I can't find a photo.
Excellent picture, everything first class.
Urs (14078) 2013-08-27 8:42
There is a lot of truth in your photograph, public phone bouts are not in hot demand any more as most of us own a cell. I do not like the cell, but there is no other choice you have to have it. Good documentary shot. Well done
jhm (127995) 2013-08-30 3:23
I like the lovely telephone booths, with the British traditional colours.
In Belgium are all telephone booths disappeared. Almost everyone has a GSM, as the two people beside the telephone booths.
Excellent composition, nice presentation.
Very well done, TFS.
Have a nice weekend,
Glint (5911) 2013-09-02 10:33
a well observed scene. These red 'phone booths are just as likely to be seen used as garden ornements as street architecture nowadays. You have managed the bright light here very well and must have been quick off the draw!
I'm constantly fascinated by mobile phone users and view their use as a sort of umbilical cord. Some people just don't seem to be able to cut themselves free!
tyro (15711) 2013-09-02 16:44
What with the better resolution of newer cameras, I think more and more of us are now taking the opportunity to upload pictures up to the new size limits and this picture looks stunningly better in higher resolution in the "beta" version of TE. I wonder if many will now revert back to the "older" version of TE? I know that a few die-hards have never left the old site but I just wonder quite how he advertisers will feel if everyone goes back to using the old version?
And I also wonder, with reference to your photograph and its comprehensive notes, what would happen if all communications satellites suddenly disappeared and we had to revert to using the good ol' red telephone boxes when our mobile 'phones became useless?
Your picture is wonderful photographically but is also a fine comment upon modern life: the mobile 'phone has rapidly become a universal accessory and only a few defiant "oldies" (myself included) have resisted the change.
Glorious colours, perfect composition with the two "players" perfectly placed in the frame and in relation to the boxes, lovely bright light, spot-on exposure and exquisite details and sharpness.
P.S. I'm not sure if you know, but if you have as enquiring a mind as I do, I can tell you that these two boxes are "K6" telephone boxes. The architect, Sir Giles Gilbert Scott (whose father and grandfather were also architects) designed the K2, K3, K4, K5 and K6 boxes and the K6 was introduced in 1935 and also called the "Jubilee Box" as 1935 was the silver jubilee of King George V. Interestingly, Giles Gilbert Scott, a staunch Roman Catholic, was the designer also of the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool. The Roman Catholic Cathedral there was designed by a protestant whose name I can't just now remember!
abmdsudi (32505) 2013-09-04 22:45
Prime candidate for colour popping! they're a dying breed...Old style British iconic traditional red telephone boxes, bold & beautiful well found and having the two standing side-by-side is great that never fail to take a trick. Sadly ignored by the 4G gen nowadays and how long would they still stay there with all the mobile phones invasion... and I suspect that many people of a certain younger age would not know how to use a pay phone since as nearly every one has a mobile these days. Youngsters will not know how to communicate soon as they spend all their time texting.
I wonder how long it will be before the only place we'll see them is in a museum. It'll be a cryin shame if they get rid of these, its like the end of a British legend. We need to look after this image - soon it will be a classic, how lovely that you were there just at the right time not only to catch this fun shot but you've captured a wee bit of history there too. Splendid write up. Indeed, what a sight for phone booths well spotted and a pleasure to view, I luv it. My compliments.
wolf38 (29116) 2013-09-05 2:48
Hi Andrew. What a great duplicity. Here the traditional red British telephone boxes, and there the modern mobile phones. Yes, how times change. My compliments for this oroginellen shot.
nikkitta (8951) 2013-09-05 11:36
I love daily live shots that told a history if possible, like here where you show a change of habits
Soon the booths phones will be part of a world lost and forgotten, the prove?
The girl standing against one of them and the boy talking on his own in front of the red booths
You wait and capture a good scene
bayno (18334) 2013-09-06 4:17
an excellent street without disturbing elements although the scene was very busy, the strong light is well managed and the red of the cabins is intense...
limielski (2571) 2013-09-06 5:55
I like these telephone booth in british style and the funny title :-). I wonder they are redundant in this manner like computer clusters or redundant hard drives :-) haha
All the best
batalay (33417) 2013-09-06 7:15
This is a well conceived shot showing anachronism at its best, but a very new anachronism. The British being British more than likely will preserve these historic telephone booths. (There is a dictum that some of the old building leaning to-and-fro in England are held up not by the forces of physics, but rather by the forces of tradition.) The photo makes an excellent addition to the group theme, Mobile Phones.
Waylim (23312) 2013-09-09 19:45
It is a redundancy, but what a classic items when one think of the city scape in London. Unfortunetely they may of useful any longer, as we all have cell phone, but I think they should still keep it for emergency and also for nostalgic reasons...:) or perhaps is it a public art like sculptures and things...
Good shot with excellent technical detials and rich colors.
jacquest (16408) 2013-09-12 10:50
This a nice street shot telling a story of this instant but also a story of yet another mean of cummunication that will soon become useless. The image is of the highest quality,
divail (7902) 2013-09-16 17:31
J'adore le concept. C'est une belle prise, au bon moment. J'espère que ces belles cabines rouges ne disparaîtront pas, qu'on les conservera au moins pour le look, ou qu'on leur trouvera une autre vocation, elles sont tellement belles. J'aime l'attitude des deux personnages, qui regardent chacun dans une direction différente. C'est très représentatif de notre société individualiste.
ChrisJ (91286) 2013-10-06 8:37
Great timing to capture both cell phone users outside both red phone boxes. Good sharpness and excellent colour and saturation. The bright red color sets up a nice warm cold color contrast against the blue magenta pavement. The 2 booths also frame a pirate in the bg! Have a nice Sunday!
- Copyright: Andrew McRae (macondo) (18461)
- Genre: People
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2013-06-04
- Categories: Daily Life, Humorous
- Camera: Olympus OMD EM5, Olympus M Zuiko MSC ED 14-150mm
- Exposure: f/11, 1/125 seconds
- More Photo Info: view
- Map: view
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Theme(s): MOBILE PHONES, Telephone Kiosks [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2013-08-25 4:57