Weekly Post Challenge: “Monument”

Gore Park Fountain at Night

Gore Park Fountain at Night

Every piece of art has an interesting history or sentiment behind it. Another art truism, specifically about photography, is that everything of this world that could be shot has been shot. Photography now is not about discovery. It’s about rediscovery.

Back in 2011 I briefly met Paul Elia, artist and member of the Beasley Neighbourhood Association, at the clothesline art sale that was headed up by the Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology. He was interested in this piece and told me about a quite similar image made by photographer Jeff Tessier. Producing original work is extremely important to me, and I must admit that my paranoia had me fearing that perhaps Paul thought that I was pedaling Jeff’s shot as my own.

Honestly, I had never heard of Jeff or seen his image before (I shot mine in July of 2009). So I looked up his shot, panicked over the similarities and contacted him hoping to smooth things over. Great guy; he put my mind at ease. Although he was only acquainted with Paul, he assured me that he didn’t believe that Paul suspected me of copying anything. It was just an observation of an uncanny coincidence. He said:

“Well, photography is a funny thing. There’s only so much to photograph and it’s no surprise that if one photog with a good eye sees something in a certain way, then the next photog will likely come along and see it in a similar light. It looks like that’s what happened with you and me. But in the spirit of full disclosure, I need to say that my image of Gore Park at night was inspired by some work I’ve seen from another Hamilton photographer, Peter Michael Wilson, who has some stunning nighttime photos of the city, including Gore Park. I used to use Peter’s images when I was the Photo Editor at H Magazine and for one of my recent projects I decided to go out for a few nights in the middle of the night, inspired by the images and emotions I saw in his work. That’s where the ‘Gore Park Fountain at Night’ image came from. So if anyone’s copying, it’s me!”

Thanks, Jeff!

So, despite the hundreds of photos already taken of this fountain over decades, I hoped that I had succeeded in creating a picture that is unique. Although I see that I have failed in that endeavor, I am quite satisfied with my results. There are enough differences for that. I am also intrigued to know that there is another Hamiltonian who shoots with the same enthusiasm and approach as me.

For a little history on the fountain, click HERE.

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27 thoughts on “Weekly Post Challenge: “Monument”

    • We have one more of these vintage fountains in Hamilton. It’s much smaller and further east in the city. I’ve thought about shooting it too but I haven’t been able to plan out good enough aesthetics yet.

  1. I read now even your writing and I nod recognition. It happened to me also. The world is shrinking and more and more photographs. And the young people have mastered the technique right from a young age and practice up vision and creativity faster than fast.

  2. I love this post…it made me think of the moon rediscovering the night sky every night for millions of years backwards and forwards…and yet, we couldn’t tire of it, or fail to see the difference every night, even if we tried.

  3. A fun story behind the photo. Particularly that another Hamilton photographer had inspired Jeff. That brings a nice connection to all the photos. Besides that I understand your concern about creating original work. What I have found is that we all bring something different to a shoot even if the subject is very similar. So personally I don’t worry much any more. This is a lovely image by the way.

  4. Pingback: On Top in Jerusalem | Cardinal Guzman

  5. How you captured the fountain is jaw dropping stunning. I am looking forward in seeing more of your work. Thank you for the follow on Petals Unfolding. May my work inspire you. What I am photographing, I really don’t think others will, not man at least, because I am crawling in the dirt (LOL) in gardens. At least for now I am. (smile) Love, Amy

    • Thank you very much Paula. Yes, it is one of my sentimental favourites even though I’ve made other shots that resonate far more with other people.

      Some locals who have a bad view of their city; however, have expressed incredulity at how a piece of downtown Hamilton looks so good in this shot. They tell me that they expect everything in a picture of Hamilton to appear rundown and misearable or simply plain, as is their perception of the downtown areas.

      I’d love to be able to use my work to wipe out that stereotype.

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