San Francisco Looming

There’s too much unsettling photography out there to limit my Halloween to just a single photograph! The image of a completely dark San Francisco (in the moment between the sun beginning to set and all of the headlights and streetlights turning on), with its specific skyline rising from the mist of the marine layer, just screams “post-apocalyptic cityscape.” Or do I detect a hint of Blade-Runner-esque “California of the Future” in the angles and orange colors? While I’m on the topic of future and past, I have a question:

Do you George Lucas your work?

This photography is one of the first that I ever took with a “real” camera, in the late fall of 2011. The RAW file was sitting quietly on my external storage drive, fallow and ready to live again. In comparing this image with the original approach I took to processing, I see enormous differences and enormous improvements—or at least an evolving artistic sensibility. I’d call this approach “George Lucasing:” going back to old work and updating or improving as my skills improve. And I’m not sure I like that it’s something I should do. Photography captures a moment, and needs a sense of finality. On the other hand, if I am spatially removed from a place (be it San Francisco or South Africa), without the immediate opportunity to return, can this creation be a healthier expression of nostalgia?

San Francisco Looming

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8 thoughts on “San Francisco Looming

  1. Stunning image. My reluctance to return to images is that too many current one await my attention. That does not remove the desire to return and correct. The motivation to do so generally comes from a forthcoming book, article and/or exhibition.
    It is nice to see this earlier work of yours.

    1. Thank you! This image came from a moment in which I had lent my camera for the weekend and didn’t have anything else to play with, so I see where you’re coming from. I like your thought related to dissemination of images: reprocessing is more of a touch-up than a complete restarting.

  2. This shot could still be quite sinister as it looks like it could be the opening scene of a horror movie. All is ok in the morning but the evening will bring fright.
    I go back and look at old work quite often, esp when I have learnt something new that could benefit an old image.

    1. I’m happy I pulled this one out for Halloween, to be sure.
      I really like the idea of specifically re-working photos when my skills have improved in part because it makes me think specifically about what my photographic skillset really is—and when I’ve improved it.

  3. Nice shot. I will add that I don’t go back and look ay my old stuff too often, partly because I feel it’s inferior and not worth reediting, and partly because I usually have fresh stuff on my plate.

    1. Thanks! That fresh stuff really seems to be the key. If I’m in a photographic dry spell, my temptation to circle back to older work gets stronger.

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