I am fascinated by why we take pictures? The Angel of the North is probably fairly well photographed! Many photographers who have the kind of talent that means their photographs featuring regularly on magazine covers, will have nailed every angle and every kind of light; so why do any of us bother anymore?


There are so many reasons I suppose. Let me consider just 2:

  1. You love the place and the subject. In this case I truly adore the “Angel” and the feeling I had when my brother and sis-in-law first took me to see it has not left me. Something about that first moment of seeing it again still has all the passion intact. If you are a photographer, then one of your instincts is to intensify those feelings. Looking through your camera, refining, framing, taking time, is like a drug that amplifies your visual senses! That is why millions of people photograph special places like the “Angel” even though they won’t improve on the commercial postcard images already available; they just need to “feel through their cameras”.
  2. You are with people! In other words, you can be sure that 1000 of the best landscape photographers can not best your picture of your friend using the “Angel” as a setting. They, after all are not ever going to get the chance to try. You my photographic friends, can photograph a friend, and get an exclusive moment that the cliched place has never known. In the first example my daughter HB was only there with me that once, and she provides something very unique to my image.

Of course, my thoughts might just be a bit pessimistic. Take the game of chess. 16 pieces each side, and only 64 squares, and yet the permutations for unique games are estimated to be comparable to the number of atoms in the known universe. Different camera, lens, light level, light type, position, sky, background, processing approaches, etc, could conceivably mean that the game is not as futile as it seems. An interesting game to play, and lets be honest photographers, a few of you have been vain enough to try this, is to choose one of your favourite images of a well photographed place and to do a Flickr search for it. Instead of the 100’s of images blowing yours away, sometimes you find that your image is genuinely up there, competing!

So hang in there and go for it anyway!


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