Deja vu

The two images below are separated by about 100 years. It looks like I copied the old postcard deliberately for a ‘Then and Now’ type post. Not so. I took the photograph almost ten years ago and bought the postcard only recently.

Edwardian era postcard of Bristol docks, England.

It’s a fairly muddy, low quality effort – surprising for a card printed in Saxony before WWI. That region had a reputation for high standards at the time, which explains why so many Edwardian cards were printed there before war broke out and, understandably, put a stop to the trade. This one had to spend some time in software to bring out even the details you can see here, but it serves to illustrate a point.

Bristol docks, England.

There is a belief in some photographic circles that, due to the billions of images out there and the hundreds we’re bombarded with every day, nothing is truly new or ‘original’ anymore. We are always in danger of unconsciously re-photographing photographs we have already seen; images that are filed away in the depths of our brain computers. It seems that, in this case, I re-photographed a photograph I hadn’t seen. How unoriginal is that? Not an exact copy – my lens was wider and the other guy was either extremely tall or standing on a step-ladder – but close enough.

In my defence, this spot is a fairly obvious viewpoint for a touristy souvenir snap and countless shutters must have been triggered within a 10 foot radius in the time between these two exposures. If you’re visiting Bristol, pop down to the docks and you’ll see what I mean. But don’t copy my shot!

P.s. There will be a bonus in your visit. To the left of this image (I’m relying on memory here) you will find the magnificent s.s. Great Britain. More about that in my next post.


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