Where did you work with Anna?”
“Really?” I could tell he was incredulous.
“Yes, really.” I saw no reason to escalate the emotional intensity that rested behind his comment, so I replied as calmly as I could.
“Which room?” He seemed frustrated. Almost angry.
“Ladies’ Parlor.”
“What? Why? I mean, how many times can you shoot in that room – any room? And why Belmont – again?” There was no doubt that he just couldn’t wrap his head around my decision to photograph Anna in a room where I had worked countless times before.
“Look,” I said, as calmly as I could despite my own increasing irritation, “even if I photographed the same woman in the same chair on the same day at exactly the same time, everything would be different.”
“I don’t understand. How is that possible?”
My first impulse was to tell him that I was sure he didn’t understand, because if he did, he wouldn’t respond as he had. But, I have learned that no good ever comes from such a response, so, I took a very deep breath and said, “First, even if it were the same date and exactly the same time of day, all the variables are different. The weather isn’t likely to be the same – even a variance of a few degrees can totally change how the camera sees the world. Differences in humidity alter how the light diffuses in a room.” I paused. I could see that he was reconsidering the whole conversation.
“But, I have learned that no good ever comes from such a response, so, I took a very deep breath…”
It is true. The variables are almost endless. So, as I write this article, it is June 22, one day after the Summer Solstice, and it is 10:06 AM. If I were to work in the ladies’ parlor at Belmont for the next 10 June twenty-seconds, at exactly 10:06 AM, unless the temperature and humidity were exactly the same – think about how unlikely that is – and the exact cloud pattern were in the sky, the volume of light in the room would be very different.

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