Sunday, April 08, 2012

Revisiting photographic subjects

click photos to enlarge
Our modern world, it seems, craves novelty. Manufacturers constantly update their cars, phones, televisions, bathrooms, clothing and much else in the hope and expectation that through change they will prompt desire and trigger another purchase to replace whatever it is that they now deem to be old and consequently worthless. Camera makers are past masters at this, offering a few more megapixels, slightly faster burst rates, a touch more dynamic range and further tweaks in their new models that appear for sale with frightening rapidity. And yet as these products change they also, in many ways, remain the same, because the fact is, manufacturers and consumers enjoy familiarity just as much as they do novelty. So, digital SLR cameras look very much like film SLR cameras though they don't have to do so, and today's shiny new car isn't radically different in appearance from that of ten years ago, or from the current competitor manufacturers' offerings (to the extent that I frequently confuse marques). In the realm of fast food outlets you are successful if you can give the customer the same product from the same menu - EXACTLY the same product, EXACTLY the same menu - wherever they happen to be in the country.

This love of both novelty and familiarity affects photographers too. Many enthusiastic amateurs and professionals like to go to new and different places to photograph new and different subjects. But those same photographers also enjoy taking "just one more" shot of a favourite or familiar subject, using the different light, weather, season, lens, etc. to try and improve on their earlier efforts. I'm no different from most photographers in this respect, and will quite happily shoot the same subject over and over again in the quest for a better outcome. I've discussed this previously in this post about Quadring church, and this post about Sleaford church, both in Lincolnshire.

I've posted shots of the subjects in today's post before too. One Humber Quays is a new office building in Hull that I've passed and photographed a few times, and the semi-abstract architectural detail is one that I frequently walk near when I'm in London, and each time try to come away from it with a better image. Familiarity with a subject often allows you take a better photograph of it because you have a fuller understanding of what it offers. Of course there's no guarantee that this will happen, and occasionally the freshness of discovery prompts a shot that trumps one bred of close acquaintance. You can be the judge of which of these forces is at work in the examples I post today.

photographs and text (c) T. Boughen

Main Photo
Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 28mm
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/125
ISO: 320
Exposure Compensation: -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On