I’d taken the b+w rowing shot back in 1979 while I was at photography studies college. I’ve always liked this shot and it occurred to me, while thinking about photographs I could take for Colour Blind, that a similar photograph in colour could work quite well. Also, there was the added attraction that the location (Morell Bridge, Anderson Street, South Yarra) is still there and that on a Sunday afternoon rowers still ply the waters beneath.
The bridge was closed to traffic in 1998 so luckily this time I didn’t have to dodge cars and trucks, just manic cyclists and film makers. Also, I had to hand almost exactly the same gear I’d used 33 years before - an AE1 with a 100mm lens - although now I had Velvia substituting for the Agfapan 100 I’d used then. I recalled that back in the day I was experimenting with slower shutter speeds so I set the camera to 1/15 of a second.
It was really crazy fun. I think I actually got into thinking exactly how I did back all those years ago - watching the approach of one of the sculls, positioning myself right over it, focussing and taking a panning shot, then running over to the other side to try and get another photo as the boat emerged from under the bridge.
So, not original - but who cares? I really like both photographs and I had a lot of fun running around like some deranged lunatic while at the same time opening up a kind of time portal. To think the same activity is carried on in the same place after so much time is pretty cool. And to realize that one can actually get back inside one’s own head from so many years ago - wow!
Maybe some of the crew of the 2012 boat are the offspring of some of the guys from the 1979 boat - who knows?
And maybe - just maybe - I’ll go back in another 30 years or so and do it all over again.