The Joy of Accidents

In my experience, accidents in photography are often a joy. Camera shake in long exposures can give ethereal or old-world effects. Shooting into the sun can produce dreamy silhouettes and halos. And overlapped frames can make for artistic montages.

The last two happened while I was bracketing images of the Monro Fountain Memorial at Machattie Park, Bathurst with my Truview (Diana clone). First, I shot into the sun — an irresistible habit of mine — which produced a perfect blue sky and almost silhouetted fountains. Second, the film winder did only half its job, creating a panoramic double image — I love the ghosting caused by the overlap, especially the bare branches in the lighter fountain.

For me, embracing accidents is about creativity, letting go of control to see what emerges. Of course, this is easy when experimenting with cheap and fun plastic cameras, such as the Diana — their limited functions and unreliability make accidents inevitable. It’s a little harder with “serious” cameras. Still, I try to shrug off those less-inspiring accidents, including the time my Pentax K1000 seized at a bull fight in Ecuador or a lab processed two days of black-and-white work in colour chemicals!

My brother-in-law Damon will recognise this image — I used it to make a writing journal for his Christmas present.

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