An old, but new Image

This is a shot of Duncansby Head, a location in the far north east of Scotland - literally only a few miles away from John O'Groats, which although is not the furthest northerly point in the British Isles, has the reputation of being so. bruce-ducansby-head2.jpg

This was taken around 4 years ago. I forget when exactly, and it's been sitting at home along with a pile of other 4x5 (large format) images that I shot over the space of a few years with a very beautiful Ebony 45SU camera.  I just didn't have the means to get it scanned - scanning by a pro lab is ridiculously expensive here in the UK (see for more information on cheap scanning options in the US).

If it hadn't been for crazy costs of anywhere around £40 to £80 to get a high res scan of a single image, then I would maybe have percevered with large format, but I suspect that the reason why I gave up large format was simply because it didn't suit my temperament.

You see, although I may state that 'the camera does not matter', which is my efforts to get people to stop focussing on the 'gear' side of photography and to focus more on the 'emotional' aspects of it, the truth is cameras do matter.

Cameras in general, are a hindrance; a barrier between you and the image. If you have the right camera that suits your temperament, then it is less of a barrier. That's why I seem to always return to my Mamiya 7II system. I'm comfortable with it, I can work fast (at my own pace), and I'm very happy with the results.

Back to the image. I met up with an excellent photographer recently - Michael Stirling-Aird, based here in Edinburgh and he kindly offered to scan some of my large format transparencies for me. So I dug them out and what I found interesting was that this particular image really caught my eye, where in the past it had not. I can only assume that the reason for this is that I've completely forgotten what my aspirations were at the point of capture.

In essence, reviewing your work straight after a shoot is hard to do, because it's hard to be objective. Sometimes you need a little distance.

I've had around 4 years distance between shooting this image, and publishing it. I'm very happy with it now, and I can't remember why I rejected it at the time I made it.

Perhaps it was part frustration at trying to compose upside down (I remember not being able to achieve compositions that would otherwise have been second nature to me with my Mamiya 7II), I'm not sure.

Anyway, it just goes to show that every now and then, it's worth going back over your old images for a review : an old image will often take on a fresh meaning for you, when reviewed after you've given it some distance.

And that's just great.