Week 1 – Repeat Photography

The cover track on the current version of Donovan’s album Catch the Wind is followed by the version produced for the single of the same song. It has the same words, same music and of course same voice but is somehow so different. Both are good but are different. I was listening to the album in the car after reading about repeat/rephotography. With the passage of time things cannot be the same. Showing the same thing at different times makes a comment on the passage of time.

Repeat Photography in Landscape Research (Margolis, E./Pauwels. L) sets out the importance of vantage point and lighting to obtaining a repeat photograph. The Pyramid Lake pictures in the above article shows one by Timothy O Sullivan in 1867, by Mark Klett in 1979 and Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe in 2000. Significant changes occur through time. This is evidence of the passage of time and of change in the same location. The images raise questions about why this change has occurred and then further work is necessary to understand what has happened to make these changes occur.

Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe’s ‘Four views from four times and the same shoreline Lake Tenaya, 2002’ are all shot within 20 feet of each other. At first it is a little unsettling seeing such images combined in this way. Mixing up different times for one place but in the same presentation. It is a different experience to looking at repeat photographs side by side and for me does stimulate thoughts about time. Time appears so much more difficult to locate than place.

I had a go at rephotography. The house below is called Casa Dura and is near where I live in Spain. It has many interesting rumours about it relating to the Spanish Civil War. This is a photograph from the past. I have not yet been able to determine the year.

The following image is my attempt at rephotographing this same house today.

As you can see it has been abandoned and has changed from its former glory. The house interests me for my project as a once lived in fully functioning house can be a metaphor for a fully functioning human being. I am also interested to explore the rumours of beheadings of Fascists on the stone table you see to the left.

The task of rephotographing is difficult. If I go to the right of this space where I believe the original shot was taken from there are now trees and other bushes in the way so you can’t actually see the house. It is a start and already throws up many interesting questions. Why is it abandoned now? What happened to it? Is it cursed? What happened to the people living in the house originally? Is it a metaphor for a damaged human being?

I will make some more efforts to get closer to the original shot. This initial process has been stimulating and made me think about the passage of time. The location also makes me think about the liminality of space as something that is now clearly abandoned by humans is re-inhabited by the natural world.

I found Nicholos Nixon’s Browns Sisters in the video fascinating to look at. Astonishing how much stays present but also how many differences there are. There is a sense of ageing but also hints at the lives they might be living. With no other context given it would be easy to make up stories with each of these pictures. I am interested in this for my project as I will be photographing myself at different times as part of sharing the experience of living with someone who is chronically ill with Multiple Sclerosis. For example what to these photographs say about me if I give you no other context?

To be rephotographs they should both be in the same place but they are repeat photographs of me. Something I am interested in is what can be gleaned about my internal state from pictures like these without more context and input from me? In both of these pictures my internal state was more like the currently abandoned version of Casa Dura as a house above. With this input it throws a different set of possible narratives to what is going on to any viewer.

Categories: Coursework, Surfaces and Strategies

LEN

I am a Photographer. As well as taking many photographs I am currently studying for an MA in Photography at Falmouth University. I will direct my attention through the lens of my camera for the next couple of years and see what shows up. I see a photograph as a little bit of magic capturing a moment in time. If successful it surprises and engages your emotions. It tells a story about the wonders of being alive or tells us what we need to change to make it a better world to live in. That is enough for me to get going and then like walking a 1000 miles, which I did across the UK in 2010, or walking 200 miles across Cyprus, which I did in November last year, it is one step at a time.

I was a writer. The title of my unpublished book was ‘You Would Have Done The Same.' It is about a successful guy in love with his wife who lets her die when he discovers her in the process of committing suicide. The title gives a clue as to what I think you would have done. The book is 200 pages long. I found it cathartic to write it but after two years of work and reviewing with agents decided it probably needed another 2000 hours to get the whole book up to the standard of some of the pages. Writing is great but it is a lot of sitting down so I decided to get out and walk, play tennis, play bridge, go birding, watch football at Nottingham Forest, Arsenal and Valencia and anywhere else if I can, meditate, cook and eat. I was a writer who has so far failed to become an author.
I was a young man who loved Mathematics and thoroughly enjoyed getting a BSc at Liverpool University. While there I went often to Anfield and the Philharmonic Hall. I was all set on doing a PhD until I went for interview practice at BP and got seduced by the excitement of an International business career. BP was a great adventure building trading teams and businesses in London, Antwerp, Cleveland Ohio and Singapore. Fabulous people and some great challenges and also very hard work, constant jet lag and lots of fun along the way. I married Karen, my stunning wife, and had the most amazing time with her and our three boys Alex, Tom and Dan. She has multiple sclerosis and we have taken on many challenges together but somehow keep creating a new normal against the horrors thrown our way. She is the love of my life.

After BP I decided to coach senior executives and quickly realized I had a lot to learn
about what makes people tick. I had a fantastic 18 months on the International Programme of the Cleveland Gestalt Institute. A great faculty and a
wonderful group of people on the programme. We studied and worked in Dingle, Singapore, Holland, Cape Town and
Lisbon. This also got me interested in the way we think and make decisions so I studied for an MSc in Psychology atUniversity College London in 2010. The
Masters was in Cognitive and Decision Sciences and I found it fascinating what
we do know but also how much we don’t know about how we think and make
decisions.

I loved coaching and making a difference. I got a number of people to hear themselves, remove some of their own chains and free up the way they thought about the world. I remain fascinated by how people react to and engage with the world. My Masters thesis was why do two people given the same information make different decisions? Put simply, it is because each of us are unique in the way we are constructed.

Since returning from Singapore I found English winters tough so moved to Spain where I now live. The people are lovely, the scenery amazing, food delicious and the sun shines all the time. Almost.

All of these experiences will feed in to my time now as a Photographer. Three motivations I am lucky to have are enthusiasm, curiosity and a continuous interest in learning. All the time I look forward to meeting old friends and making new friends and experiencing this wonderful life together.