Wandering the streets of Toronto with my ever present EOS1 and I’m thinking the same as I always do when anywhere that has iconic landmarks. Why would I photograph this? I should point out, the question is aimed at myself and is not a judgement on the many who want a holiday snap.
Toronto’s big landmark is the CN tower which can be seen from half the city. It is impressive and an obvious draw for every lens in town. What I need to ask myself as a serious art photographer is what would I do with the image, and/or can I make this different enough to justify frames on the film?
I can easily get a shot on the phone to pin on Twitter or Instagram but the Canon isn’t for that, and while memory is cheap, film is not. The shots in my Gallery have been taken from NYC to the Himalayas but I still get asked where my yellow cab or Taj Mahal picture is.
My aim is to have the viewer of my finished work take an “oh wow” or “that’s really clever/different” stance and hopefully get them to stop and really enjoy the finished piece. If the result is “Oh yeah, NYC” or “Niagara Falls, I’ve been there” then from my perspective as a photographer looking for an art image rather than a memento, I have failed.
There may be a new way of capturing the CN Tower on film or disk but having been photographed so often I am not convinced, and with such a building you are generally looking up it or at it
There is a shot in my gallery on this site titled Cabinet. A friend of mine really likes the image (although he bought a different one) and during a chat about it I pointed out that I had taken it at the top of his street. He had seen the image many times but had no idea until I explained the content that he walked past it every day. He thought it was a great image and I had managed to make his every day world something new for him. That for me is a perfect example of what I attempt to achieve every time I aim the camera at something.
Of course I fully understand why visitors want a take home shot or selfie, but should you ever be at a famous world site and wonder if I am there, then I’m most likely the one with his lens turned away from the Eiffel Tower.