Two surprisingly similar portraits

©Neil Turner/TSL

The great challenge in photography for me is to keep shooting pictures without keeping shooting the same picture. There are thousands of ways of taking a photograph – let’s say that the number is, for argument’s sake, twenty-five thousand. What happens when you have shot two hundred and fifty thousand pictures – have you shot each possible picture ten times? I was looking back through a folder of favourite images today and found two that were taken at a similar point in my career and in a fairly similar location.

So are these two pictures the same, similar or different? It doesn’t matter really what anyone thinks but I really like to see them together. I like to see the similarities and the differences and once you get away from the fact that both are women sitting in a chair in a bay window in London with a quality rug on the floor the differences in the pictures start to matter much, much more. I promise that I haven’t cropped them to match – this is how they were in my folder.

The light comes from the side on both and, knowing the way that I work, that has a lot more to do with eliminating reflections in the glass in a hurry than any creative impulse. The amount of ambient light is higher on the left (yes, that is author Jacqueline Wilson) and the books make the picture feel a lot different to the harder light with less ambient, no books and peeling paint of the left hand portrait of blind sculptor Gohar Kordi.

I love looking at my own work, trying to get ideas for new work from examining old work and I know very well that there will come a time when I do the same (?) shot again and can picture these two frames and what they say in my mind. Next time I will use a longer lens. Next time I will pay even more attention to the symmetry of the composition. I can’t wait…