March 5, 2009


I call this a cliche because I know my idea to take this photo came from a roughly similar photo I saw more than 10 years ago. It was in a photo book or magazine and was used as an example of the results possible from using a very grainy film such as Scotch Chrome 1,000. It was a wide angle shot of a yacht on the the ocean off England, I think the weather was nice, might have been at sunset & due to the large soft grain the yacht looked almost to be merging into the environment. I remember thinking this was a beautiful photo & I would have been happy to have taken it.

The photo above I took mid February 2009 on Sydney harbour. It was a Friday & had been raining heavily on and off all day. Around 6.30pm I looked at the harbour & saw yachts sailing in the rain. I saw the possiblity for a good photo using grainy film & straight away I knew it was a reference to the photo I had seen years before. I’m sure this happens to creative people all the time but perhaps we often don’t realise the origin of our idea.

I was hesitant about going out & actually trying to take the photo. It meant getting some film out of the fridge, getting my camera gear together & then driving in the rain to the edge of the harbour. It was possible that by the time I got there the yachts would be gone. They have twilight racing on Friday evenings in summer, but I wasn’t sure if the races were complete or they had been abandoned due to the weather. My idea was to get a frame with two or three yachts in a row almost dissolving in the rain and the film grain. I went to a ferry wharf for some shelter and by the time I got there the rain had stopped and there were no more yachts. I waited around & one big yacht did go by. It still wasn’t what I wanted as there was no rain so I took some frames shooting through the dirty plastic window of the wharf, I might have also defocused a little.

By cliche I don’t mean that it’s a bad photo or plagiarism, just acknowledging that some things can be good even though not completely original. The photo was taken with Scotch Chrome 400, 1990s slide film, in a Canon EOS 3. I like the photo & I’m happy to have taken it & I’m hoping for more rain on Friday evenings in summer so I can go back & try for some more.


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