Infinite Repeat

I’m sure it’s not just me but I do find I repeat myself every now and then, more so when I walk the same route everyday where there isn’t so much obvious visual diversity.

I discovered this during my morning stroll over Arthur’s Seat.

(above) all the same image yet slightly different

I know there have been plenty of artists and photographers that capture the same scene over and over, photographers like Joel Sternfeld has done this but more famously artists like Monet repeatedly painted the same scene.

Obviously I’m not comparing myself with established artists but there must be a reason why people are drawn one place or visual idea.

It could just be as simple as being curious about how it’d look at different times of the day, documenting change around something that maybe appears not to change. I can understand that with something like Rouen Cathedral or Cezanne’s ‘Sainte Victoire’ mountain paintings.

Obsession 1
My current fascination has been a cluster of trees half way up Arthur’s Seat; the main tree is like a big green blob.

Compositionally most of these are identical. I like the blob of tree to be centred, despite centred compositions apparently being associated with amateurism, and not in a good way (third paragraph from the bottom).

You can see I tried something different with the second photo but I don’t think it worked, and the last two were only made moments apart.

These days I only ever see that bush in the early mornings so I’ve been adding lots of flash to try and pick it out from the shadow of the rising morning sun.

Another fascination is to watch an object erode over time and something like the Abandoned Edinburgh project that both Iain Kendall and I are working on helps with that. Some items hang around for a while.

There’s a queued post of a tall fridge that was likely ejected from a property being fixed up nearby, it starts off standing up near a bus stop (see below), days later it slowly creeps over by a fenced wall, then on it’s side, then it finally disappears.


Obsession 2
Here’s an example of another tree I’ve watched change over time while pretty much all around it stays the same …

That’s probably not all the photos I’ve made of that tree, only what I could find. The attraction here is clearly the unusual shape of the tree but also how different it can look over time from healthy bush to a skeleton.

I’d read an old article about an Icelandic artist called Ragnar Kjartansson who decided to paint a portrait of fellow Icelandic artist, Pall Haukur Bjornsson, every day for 6 months.

About the work he said “I just had this image of this guy, smoking, drinking, by the water, looking out at the Prosecco Venetian light”.

(above) A photo of Ragnar in action

I don’t think I have anything as compulsive as that in mind but you never know, I’m starting to get quite fond of that blob of tree on Arthur’s Seat but now I think about it, I could already be stuck in such a project with my pigeon set called ‘Flying Rats of Edinburgh‘.

Ragnar Kjartansson’s endurance piece was titled “The End” so perhaps that’s the true subtext for all repeat art, the illustration of or rather documentation of the finite untouchable end of everything; the ultimate end for all life.

Lets keep going until we can’t any more.

So, anyway, until next time.



3 thoughts on “Infinite Repeat

  1. For me, when I do this it’s about getting to know the subject extremely well and fully experience it, and/or having something reliable and well known to shoot when I’m trying a new camera so that the camera is the biggest variable in the equation.


    1. Yeah, I guess that’s one of the many other angles to take on repeat photography; to have an experience, which I imagine is different every time; to a purely functional one.



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