Slow Photography

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by jim_dockery_photos, Jan 19, 2011.

  1. Looking over some old threads, such as this one, and my slowest photograph required a 7-hour exposure plus a lot of prior planning. At the time of this thread, the image 2as 1 year in the future. From bottom of Grand Canyon, stars rotating g above. 38480001b-1.jpg
    invisibleflash likes this.
  2. This thread bounced around a long time ago. I was pretty active back then but obviously missed this one. Maybe I was out communing with nature on a slow walk to nowhere in search of Beauty (and got lost in some agora somewhere in Ancient Greece).

    A lot of good points, and I must say, though we butted heads plenty, it made me miss JTK. He was on the money on this one, in at least some important ways ... and he was a lively contributor.
    I take this more as a meme or trope than seriously. I'm a digital shooter and it certainly doesn't apply to me.

    Now, as to slowing down, it has its advantages. I like to think things through, to take the time to experience them, to be deliberative and deliberate in certain situations, perhaps even in many situations. It's the kind of guy I am.

    Which is why sometimes I push myself to speed things up, be more spontaneous, think less and act more instinctively.

    There's no "speeding up is better than slowing down" or "slowing down is better than speeding up" but there may be some value in assuming one to be true and then willfully and rebelliously doing the other, not merely for the sake of rebellion but more as a check on those habit-forming assumptions.
  3. 2011 OP
  4. We’re both aware of that. And both already alluded to it. Both felt there was still relevance and maybe worth reviving. Thanks for the reminder because sometimes I miss the dates and spin my wheels, so it’s always good to be reminded.
  5. Well, I don’t know about slow photography but this thread might be an example of slow philosophy!
    Ricochetrider likes this.
  6. I thought you loved digging up old things......
  7. Did I say anything against the reanimation?

    Was there the slightest hint of anything except the date of the OP?
  8. Easy there....
    Just jerking your chain.
  9. There was the bold font :)
    samstevens likes this.
  10. We have liftoff.

    Quick, someone quote Plato.
    Ricochetrider likes this.
  11. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    Hmm... "Wise Apes speak
    because they have something
    to say; Fools because they
    have to say something"...
    samstevens likes this.
  12. @Vincent Peri - good one!

    I was going to choose this one, since it can be related to photography. Plato, of course, would have hated photography and would have been mighty surprised had he come across a bunch of fellow Athenians with iPhones down at the local agora taking selfies. :eek:
    Ricochetrider likes this.
  13. We’ll have to wait and see I guess if the iPhone photos are held in comparable regard in comparable time.
  14. Hi Jim, Thanks for posting this article by Tim Wu. The article has generated quite some responses: some dismissive, a few positive, others tech-related, others referring to the same or similar arguments made many years ago. All responses are IHMO valuable, which is why I like your post in this sub-forum. FWIW, I really like Tim Wu's article. He makes many valuable points. I don't think he was talking about all photography but about people who are more focused on 'collecting' snaps'' than on what there is to experience. The point of 'slow photography' - if I understand him correctly - is that more ''snap collectors' might get more personally photos by: - first taking time (away from the camera) to fully experience whatever there is to experience - taking the time to prepare photos that best capture that experience - taking the photos I personally doubt whether he's going to change many minds on his own. But I really do sympathize with his arguments. The couple of pro photographers I know are trained and experienced enough to routinely 'sense' which shots/photos are worth taking, why and how. This is something that I (as an an amateur/volunteer photographer)still struggle with. So more focus on 'slow photography' would me good for me too in photographing people for interviews. support his argument that it's preferable to fully connect with your personal experience before starting shooting (video) Mike
    Ricochetrider likes this.
  15. I sympathize with aspects of his arguments as well, but I have some disagreements. One of the goals he poses is that the picture should be secondary.

    “In slow photography, the basic idea is that photos themselves—the results—are secondary. The goal is the experience of studying some object carefully and exercising creative choice.”

    Not necessarily. Some problems I have with this thinking.
    1. He assumes photography to be object-oriented and it doesn’t have to be. Photography has the potential to be not just about the objects in front of the camera, but about metaphor (using the objects to transcend them), about negative space (the non-object), about narrative, mood, atmosphere. My goal can be far from the experience of studying some object.
    2. I often think ahead to the photo, at the best times in conjunction with fully experiencing what I’m experiencing. They two are not at odds. It’s like walking and chewing gum when it’s working well for me. I like making photos. That is a very worthy primary goal, in my mind, and can guide me without distracting me, kind of like getting used to my shadow.
    3. He is caught up in the experience of the moment. A lot of photographers want to capture that experience. But, sometimes, it’s more about what will be experienced when seeing the photo than what I’m experiencing when taking it. I’m not trying to record my actual experience in order for which I have to slow down and appreciate it. I’m seeing ahead to a different moment and experience. That’s why making photos can be about potential and the future. It allows me to make a happy picture in a sad moment or a sad photo in a happy one. Photos can be, but aren’t necessarily, a mirror of the moment. They can also be a mirror into the soul, mine or the world’s or some combination, which is about far more than one moment. The moment to my photo can be like the blank canvas to the painting or the untouched block of stone to the sculpture. The result, the photo, may have an almost unrecognizable relationship to it. More/most often, my photo does bear some relationship to the experience when shooting, but that relationship is multi-layered and not necessarily made deeper by more concentration on that original experience itself.
    mikemorrell likes this.
  16. I appreciated the thoughtful responses from Mike & Sam. From the sometimes rapid approach of Klein and Moriyama to the slow style Sudek and Sugimoto I can appreciate any mindset that produces good photography. The benefits of thoughtfulness are obvious no matter the style. And I do not believe a fast shooter is destined to be careless, unthoughtful.

    after reading the article that was my take also. even tho that had very little meaning for me it did make some sense for the photographer who takes a photo as a record. A way to enhance your snapshots. Keeping in mind that there is still a place for the quick response, spontaneous snapshot that would otherwise be lost.
    To be sure! and it seems a very natural extrapolation of the comment you quoted. That is why I went back to finally read the article. The context I found loosened my grip on that quote. But Your response interested me in this thread & sucked me in. Slow photography ... that is a meaty multi facet topic.
  17. yeah cameras take photos of objects, even when just light or an unrecognizable object.
    and what we have going on here is the different matter ---- is the object the purpose of the photo and how to potentially enhance that experience/result or is the purpose beyond the object.

Share This Page