The faster life seems to become, the more I’ve craved slowing down.
Slowing down the making of photographs, taking more time to compose each shot, letting myself completely sink into and lose myself in the moment. This brings me stronger memories and more palpable emotions when I look back at the images afterwards – reconnecting with something of the same sense of whoosh and wonder, the deeper immersion, time loss and forgetting I experienced at the time.
Slowing down the editing of photographs by letting the images mull and marinate more before deciding which to keep. Those that don’t come close to making the cut are still quickly culled, yes. But now also, rather than edit each batch in just one or two sweeps, I’m taking maybe five or six or more, each time returning to my Google Photos holding bay and removing an image here, and another there, any that I don’t feel are strong enough to warrant keeping. The more time I leave between these editing fly-bys, the more objective I think my editing becomes. Meaning the very few I’m left with, I’m more pleased with.
Slowing down the sharing of photos, waiting until I’m really sure I want to make an image public, and only if and when I feel it’s good enough to represent me and my work. A useful measure for me is to imagine each photograph I share being the first and only photograph of mine a new viewer has encountered. Is it memorable enough to fulfil this purpose, to make them want to see more? This means, I hope, again building a stronger collection of photographs, and that the people who do find and enjoy them are more likely to stick around to see what I make next.
Slowing down the viewing of other people’s photos to let each one slowly seep into my senses like a lithe body lowering into a bath of warm dark chocolate. By switching to viewing photographs in books instead of online – and at the rate of perhaps one photograph per 120 seconds instead of swiping through 120 in one minute – has been pivotal in this progression, and inevitably helped me in the slow down of making, editing and sharing my own images.
A few years of researching, buying and using cameras, uploading the images made with them, and consuming other photographs online – all at such a frenetic pace my feet never touched the ground – left me in giddy, desperate need of some kind of healing tonic, a soothing balm to restore the reason why I photograph at all, and how I can do it more purposefully, more intelligently, and more deeply.
And so, I feel that embarking on this ever gentler and wider reaching slow down has been the only way forward for me.
How about you? How could you get on board with the slow down in your photographic life? Have you already?
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Thanks for looking. Please share this post with others you feel will enjoy it too. If you’re interested, this is what my photography life looks like right now.