Nothing New Under the Sun

As a photographer (indeed, in any pursuit), originality is something to strive for. Honing your vision to be wholly unique is not possible, but pursuing a personal vision is every photographer’s goal…if you exclude all those on Instagram taking the same shoot of the same scene by putting their feet/tripod/phone in the groove marks left by those before.

Anyway, sometimes you mimic to learn, but then you always try to have something original to say, through composition or lighting or style, even if the subject is old.

Recently, in Brisbane, I took this photograph. Actually, I took a few, but one I rendered in monochrome and the other (taken the following evening) I left in glorious color. I haven’t seen the bridge and the city framed in this way before, so it was for me at least original. I wanted to convey a sense of scale in the bridge, because it stands so proud over the river. It almost feels like the whole city is lined up to soak in the bridge.

Not much more than a week later, I’m flicking through Michael Kenna’s book Images of the Seventh Day and what do I see but this. Now I don’t profess to having one gram of Kenna’s talent, but it would be nice if my illusion of originality lasted a bit longer. Still, great minds do think alike…

The Abbey, it's a Fake !

I've just finished a version of this image. I'm still toying with colour toning (do I darken it, make the background cooler in tone and the foreground warmer, etc?), but as it stands I actually quite like the current instantiation. And yet I keep looking at it, not because of the toning, but because I'm looking for tell tale signs that it's a fake.

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