One of the valuable things that most separates photography from other artforms is its intrinsic ability to show the passing of time in a unique way.
The photographs were taken not more than seven minutes apart, in the order displayed, as I sat enjoying a damn fine cup of joe at the cafe in the Melbourne Botanical Gardens a few weeks back. Obviously I picked a fortuitous time because it really bucketed down and I didn’t have an umbrella.
These are two contiguous frames from a 35mm roll - developed exactly the same and with no photoshop trickery. I am very pleased with the way these turned out, as I had a vague idea in mind and, after I got the first shot, hoped that something interesting would happen with the weather and that maybe I could get a shot of someone else close to where the first two guys had been. Presto!
There are many observations that could be made from this pairing. The change in lighting conditions for one, plus the reduced visibilty and decreased contrast of the first scene - where the rain was obviously at its heaviest - compared with the second shot where the sun is out and whatever light rain still persisting seems to be clearing up rapidly.
There is also the wider question of space and time. The people in either photo are occupying exactly the same space, although they’ve approached the spot from different directions. You could, if you wanted, extrapolate the thought to embrace the notion that we spend our lives literally walking in the footsteps others have laid before us, just as others will surely occupy the same spaces that we’ve been. I’m sure, for instance, that someone else that day would have sat in the same chair and table I was occupying while I took these snaps.
But there it is, caught and enduring on film, with no information extant about the intervening moments. So for all intents and purposes, these pictures could have been made a millisecond apart or a number of years.
What does it all mean? Well who knows. I reckon, though, that sometimes a sequence can be pretty damned fun and interesting.