Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Taking the same photograph again

click photo to enlarge
The truth is you can never take the same photograph twice. Whatever steps you take to try and achieve this goal it will always end in failure. The light will be different, as will the sky, the shadows, the movement of living things, the colours - everything in some small or major way. Ah but, I hear you say, what about if you shoot an inert subject under studio conditions with a tripod-mounted camera and reproducible artificial lighting? Even in those conditions, and even if your eye can't discern a difference, a close examination of the electronic file that you produce will show it to differ from the previous one. However, I will agree that if you can't see a difference then to all intents and purposes there isn't a difference!

So, if we accept that it's extremely difficult to take the same photograph twice, why are many photographers loath to shoot the "same" shot again. Is it seen as boring or a mark of a lack of creativity? Having "done" that subject, are such people simply incapable of doing it again? It isn't all photographers - or painters for that matter. Many creative people recognise the value in studying and portraying a subject in different ways, in different light, at different times of day and year. It certainly suits me to re-visit a subject and try and improve on what I achieved earlier, or make something different of it.

Today's image is a case in point. Each time I visit the National Centre for Craft and Design (also known as The Hub) at Sleaford I walk to the top of the converted and extended warehouse building and take some photographs of the medieval church of St Denys and the surrounding roofscape. I posted such an image in February of this year, and on my afternoon visit last week I took another shot which I post today. The two shots differ principally in terms of light and field of view/aspect ratio, with the second one looking much more three-dimensional. What I did find interesting, however, is that the point at which I took the recent shot was not discernibly different from where I stood for the earlier one. It seems that, despite me knowing that I was taking a different shot, there was part of me unconsciously trying to make it the same.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Lumix LX3
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 9.3mm (44mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f2.5
Shutter Speed: 1/640
ISO: 80
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On