This exercise is about thinking and noting the difficulties in getting a ‘new’ vision of anything or anywhere.
This shows a Google screenshot of Mount Fuji – classic images, all very similar
and a Google screen shot of Fuji City – there isstill a focus on the mountain – little of either detail or originality
In the whole series of images by John Davies on Fuji City the mountain is either absent or only minimally present. There is no ‘traditional’ shot with blossom and snow in sight. These are not pretty, but striking and much more evocative of what Fuji City is likely to be like in modern day Japan (Fuji City, 2008). The series by Steele-Perkins on Fuji City is very different, more personal with people and close incidents, e.g. a person struggling to walk in the snow. Again, the mountain is relegated to the background (Steele-Perkins, 2002 ).
©Chris Steele-Perkins – posted with kind permission of Chris Steele-Perkins
If you Google images of Dunfermline (my local town) there is the same effect, most of the images show the Abbey, which while attractive and a tourist destination, tells you very little about the town itself, or the lives of the people there.
So – how do you see something in a unique way? Do you spend a long time looking (as suggested by Haas and Bailey)? Do you let the camera see (Bill Brandt)? This is about developing one’s own style and way of thinking. If I look at most of the images in my collection, they probably do not say much about me and my personal thought process.
There is a further complication if you are looking at many images, such as when studying photography. There is an instinctive temptation to follow what has already been done. When thinking about still life – I automatically think of the peppers and shells photographed by Weston.
Davies, J. (2008). Fuji City 2008 – no.608. [online] Johndavies.uk.com. Available at: http://www.johndavies.uk.com/f608.htm [Accessed 15 Oct. 2017].
Steele-Perkins, C. (2002). Fuji. New York: Umbrage.