It is said you can never step into the same river twice. The river flows on, the world changes. But I have a chance next month to return to Anasazi country where I photographed a year ago, and water seldom flows there at all. Conditions will probably be much the same, unless there’s a break from the hot, clear weather of last time. I will probably see some of the same ruins I photographed before, but I’m sure to see others as well. I am very interested to see what will come out of a return visit.
The fairly eclectic images on my web site reveal that I have not settled on a consistent story to tell about these places. When I went I was most interested in the relationship of the stone dwellings to the surrounding rock. Besides looking for compositionally dramatic presentations of this, I wasn’t entirely sure what it meant. I have learned something in working with the images over the intervening months, and I believe I have developed a better idea of what I might be after. Not an idea that I can articulate, but I’m hoping I’ll be better able to recognize it.
To some extent, even a single original image can tell different stories, depending on how it is processed. The color image above seems to convey best the current fact. The ruin is a bright jewel in its setting, framed by fresh, green leaves. The next version, in monochrome, has a more timeless feel, which I find appropriate to the subject. The third, perhaps, evokes a more nostalgic feeling, though the softening popular a hundred years ago is again a current fad. The last version goes slightly further in that direction with a touch of vignetting and dark edges.
But to tell best a different story requires different captured images. How different will my pictures be this year? Will anyone but me be able to tell? The pictures, of course, depend on what’s behind the camera as well as what’s in front. I will be more changed than my subjects. It won’t be the same me stepping into the river.
Have you had a chance to return to a previous subject in your art? Why did you go back? And how was the result?