Thoughtful discussion here ... closely related to "Artist's Block". We have "seen something so many times before that we do not see it any more."Originally Posted by Max
However ... A student of a particular "Photo 101" class approached me for advice over coffee once. He said that the class had been given an assignment: "Photograph something never seen before".
I had been thinking of exposing regular printing paper to ambient light, printing the totally black frame, and claiming that it was a photograph of a "Black Hole", (never seen before - now photographed, and STILL not seen, but it WAS photographed..), BUT...
In the final analysis ... it is *VERY*nearly, if not completely, impossible to photograph something that HAS been seen before. One can stand on a street corner, try to precisely make two photographs exactly the same ... and they won't be. The sun will be in a slightly different position in the sky; the clouds could have formed, disappeared, or changed position; leaves on the trees could fall or have been repositioned by the wind... *No* photograph (before you really nit-pick, strobes will fire at slightly different intensities, light reflecting back to the subject will be different, depending on where the photographer is standing..), so in theory, and at times much more intensely than that, EVERY photograph will be of something "never seen before", and that will never be seen again. A photograph is unique in one respect, and that is time. We capture what we see in a very discrete slice of time.
I've done it before - "This photograph is very good ... but if the light was from a slightly different angle"... Back to the scene ... wait for the light ... and no matter what ... it is different ... what I'm "seeing" now just doesn't WORK.
I keep the time factor in mind. It takes, more than anything, discipline to ... I was about to write, "make us" ... but more properly, to EMPOWER us to "see", to break through the familiarity "shell of invisibility".
"Trite" - no, not really. More often, "Too familiar".