How photo-collating reminded me of some (other) good modified cliché photos

More and more of my photo-time is spent collating the photos I have already taken. Last night, for instance, I went looking for (more) photos of London taxis with adverts on them. There is something especially appealing, to me anyway, about a large number of objects all exactly the same shape, but each decorated differently. (Some time, I must go searching for my photos of elephants.)

Equally appealing, to me, were those Gormley Men (LINK TO THE OLD BLOG). In that case, each Man was the same, and undecorated in the more usual and rather bland sculpture way. But, each one was in a different place and a different sort of setting. My Gormley Men photos did not need collating, because Gormley had already collated them, by putting all his Men in the same part of London at the same time. Therefore my photos of the Gormley Men mostly collated themselves.

Not so the elephants, or taxis. When looking for taxis, I am looking for taxis photoed in the course of all manner of different photo-expeditions each with their own directories.

But my point is that in the course of all this taxi-collating, I was clicking through literally thousands of non-taxi photos, and I kept coming across non-taxi photos that I particularly liked. Like (like as in “such as” – this is not a command) this one, for instance, taken last June:

I like doing modified cliches in writing, and I also like them photographically. A view, for instance, of some London Thing that has been photoed to death, but put beside or in front of or behind something that is not so usual. Most photoers would regard the above scaffolding as a problem rather than any sort of solution, to the Eros-has-been-photoed-to-death problem.

The scaffolding’s wrapping has the effect of clearing away all the usual clutter from Piccadilly Circus and replacing it with something a lot like sky on a dull day. It puts Eros in an empty field in the countryside, you might say. And yes I know, I like clutter. But not always.

Here is another modified cliché photo:

The Wheel has been photoed to death, and that’s a view I regularly see – and regularly photo – of it, from the point where Strutton Ground meets Victoria Street, looking down Victoria Street towards Parliament Square and beyond. But that sky behind The Wheel made The Wheel look amazing, on that particular day in January of this year.

Finally, one of many photos I took this year of Battersea Power Station:

The Power Station and (if you are a craniac like me) its crane cluster are the clichés. And if you want to take the sting out of a cliché, one way is to reflect it in something. At that point its extreme recognisability becomes more a virtue and less of a bore. Its very clichéness becomes helpful to the photo.

This photo was taken from the upstream side of the Power Station, where there is already a big chunk of new flats up and running, with accompanying tasteless sculpture, coffee serving places and the like. All sparked, I believe, by the new USA Embassy.

This photo of mine turns Battersea Power Station upside down. I’ve always thought that an upside down Battersea Power Station would make a rather good table. But, until now I never thought to go looking for such a table on the www. Here we go. That took about three seconds, so I bet there are plenty more that are cheaper. This guy had the same idea, but those two links were all I could quickly find concerning this notion.

Here is another modified cliché photo of Battersea Power Station, the modification this time being smoke.

Come to think of it, all those London taxi photos I’ve been digging up are also modified cliché photos, aren’t they? London taxi = cliché, adverts = modification.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

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