How many times does a place have to be photographed to become cliche?
I am not sure, but Tokyo sky tree probably has been photographed several tens of millions of times since it started to outgrow the rest of the Tokyo's skyline... I believe it does qualify hands down as the ultimate cliche in Japan, maybe only second to Mt Fuji. By the way, Sky tree is the tallest building in Japan. At 634m, this engineering feat is also apparently the tallest TV antenna in the world.
Now... can there be new ways to photograph an icon like this one?
Let's look at this from a theoretical standpoint...
Imagine a set of spheres of growing radius surrounding Sky Tree. Now think of all the intersections of all these spheres with the surface of the earth between 20m and 50km, including the buildings built on top of it. Multiply this by the number of seconds per day, the number of days per year and all the possible climate combinations, multiply this also by all the possible types of cloud formation, from plain grey to nice summer clouds and then think of all the ways a photographer can capture a given subject on a given day. Let's do a few assumptions:
- 2 images shot less than 50 cm away from each other at less than 20-200m from the tower are the same, 2 images shot less than 100m away from each other at 10km from the tower are the same,...
- there are 20 different types of cloud patterns,
- the average height of buildings around Sky tree is 10m (including all the places without any building),
- 2 images shot less than 1 minutes apart at day time are the same, 2 images shot less than 30 mins apart at night are the same,
- from a seasonal standpoint, 2 images shot less than one week apart from each other are the same,
- then let's do a blunt assumption that there are about 1000 significantly different combinations of framing, exposure,... everything else being equal... the photography part itself.
Doing a quick computation, you reach easily the conclusion that there are about 5,000,000,000,000,000 different photos of Sky tree that can be taken (5 thousands trillions). Considering than 100 millions were already shot, half of which are probably the same, this means that there are about 4,999,999,950,000,000 different photos still to be taken...
Now, it is pretty tough to figure out how many of these could potentially be aesthetically pleasing images, but my guesstimate
is about 453,982,321. A whooping 0,00001 % of all possible images. Still many.
That is pretty scary in fact. How not to be creative with such a wealth of options?
With a bit of shame... I have to confess... the following images is the best I could do in a few hours... Thoughts?