Ever since the publication of H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine in 1895, the concept of traveling back and forth to different eras has gripped the human imagination.
The idea of time travel has been explored in hundreds of books, comics and movies. The two that spring immediately to mind are Back to the Future, and The Time Traveler’s Wife.
But perhaps the man who has come closest to inventing a workable, practical “time machine” is George Eastman. Although he didn’t invent photography, with his “You press the button, we do the rest” idea he certainly made it popular, bringing it withing reach of the everyday man.
Unfortunately, Eastman’s time machine can only travel in one direction – backwards. A machine that can transport us to the future remains elusive.
All this musing about time travel was really triggered by a short trip to the Golden Gate area of South Africa’s eastern Free State highlands. On this trip we stayed at the Sunnyside Guest Farm, near the town of Clarens, just as we as had done a couple of decades previously.
When I looked at the pictures I took on this most recent trip, I was immediately struck by how similar they looked to the pictures I had taken on previous visits to the region. But all the previous pictures were taken on analogue film cameras.
As I was looking at the new pictures, I kept being reminded of the old ones, and I had the distinct feeling that going back to Golden Gate was a bit like going back in time. Then I decided to actually dig up some of the scans I’d made some time ago of shots from previous trips to Sunnyside and the Golden Gate Highlands nature reserve.
What bothers me about the similarity of so many of my Golden Gate pictures is the thought that maybe I haven’t progressed at all as a photographer despite the advancing years. But, on a more positive note, the similarities may be due to being moved by the same sense of wonder I feel on every trip to this awe-inspiring place.
I’ll conclude this post with a couple of shots from my recent trip without reference to past journeys.