Black Sand SilhouetteSilhouette at sunset on the black sands of New Zealand's north island coast. Not Enough Time?
Does anyone else feel like there’s not enough time in modern life? The digital world exposes us to a wealth of information and content that can educate and entertain us, and ultimately expand our worldview. However, if we’re not mindful of our consumption, all of the headlines, hollow online relationships, endless images, and targeted marketing can oversaturate our lives. More people are dreaming of escaping it all: leaving the rat race to travel the world, see more places, and gather experiences rather than things. We seek authenticity, dream of downsizing, simplifying life, having more leisure time, and making stronger connections. The van life is replacing the (chemically-treated) green lawn as the ultimate dream, and the “gig economy” is challenging the inevitability of the 40-hour work week.
"I want to maintain a more positive outlook and focus on doing the kind of photography that I enjoy doing, at the pace that I enjoy"
As I have pursued my interest in photography, balancing it with a career in architecture, I have been prone to fall into a ‘time poverty’ state of mind. The initial joy of the artistic pursuit was often giving way to anxiety, that I didn’t get out to shoot enough, that I missed on a great shooting opportunity, etc. It has become clear to me that I need to be intentional about my approach, or I won’t continue to find joy in photography! I want to maintain a more positive outlook and focus on doing the kind of photography that I enjoy doing, at the pace that I enjoy (this was dawning on me when I wrote about my first three years of photography in this blog entry). My wife and I were recently discussing this, when she suggested that I could try to practice “slow photography”. We had recently been discussing the slow food movement, and the slow approach seemed intriguing and valuable.
The natural next step was to do some research on the slow movement, which led us to believe that this loosely defined and organized movement is the perfect cultural counterforce to the largely prevalent scarcity mindset. The slow movement emphasizes intentionality when making connections to other people and to the natural world, prioritizes quality over quantity, and experiences over material things. For example, in travel, the slow movement proposes that you take your time to get to know a place and its people, rather than quickly “checking off” the highlights that may be outlined in a guidebook.
Excitedly, we discussed that a similar concept can apply to photography, where slowing down to truly appreciate something, and carefully consider how it is best captured, can greatly enhance the effectiveness of the image to transport a viewer into the scene. Upon doing some research, we found that this idea was – obviously – not a brilliant new revelation. The concept of a slow photography movement has surfaced several times over the past decades, meaning somewhat different things to different people and at different times. That said, there seemed to be plenty of room for some new voices and energy in the conversation.
Without trying to align myself with any strict previous definition, I’ve decided to create a platform for those who share a passion for a slow approach, both fellow photographers and the community with which we share our work. I want to build a space that encourages a slow and engaged approach to photography; one that focuses on the quality of the photographic experience in a way that enhances the end result. Furthermore, I envision using our images as the foundation for making connections with each other and with our audience, telling engaging stories about the context of each image.
If you are interested in following this experiment, or in contributing, please check out the new website, Instagram feature page and Facebook page below, and contact me with any questions or suggestions: