Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Slow Photography

I cannot claim to have thought of this first because a quick 'Google' comes up with other mentions but I did arrive at this idea independently... What we need is a 'Slow Photography' movement.

To be pedantic, the 'Slow Food' movement, which prompted this idea, derives its name from the fast food industry and photography doesn't have a 'fast' - what it does have though is an 'unthinking'...

QED - we need a 'Thinking Photography' movement.

What I am getting at is to do with having more involvement in the results of your photography, right from the start, from when you choose your camera, your film (or ISO speed - because this goes for digital photography too) and the focal length of lens before you take a picture, choosing an aperture and speed during the picture taking and deciding how best to process and present the pictures you have taken.

The more you do this the easier it becomes and the more instinctive. It does not necessarily mean that taking pictures takes a long time, but each time you stop to think about what your photographic choices are you significantly increase the chances of getting the picture that you thought you would.

Of course 'slow photography' means other things too, these pictures were all taken with pinhole cameras, the first two with a 6x12 Zero Image camera, a beautiful wooden camera with brass fittings from a range available from my website www.minutefilm.co.uk the other two were taken with a Holga 6x12 Wide Pinhole, a less beautiful but still very effective camera; also available from Minutefilm. Pinhole photography slows you down in several ways:

It takes time to calculate the exposure

The exposures take time...

You have to carry a tripod and set the camera up carefully

Framing takes longer because you don't have a viewfinder


However, the difficulties that the process throws up are precisely what make pinhole photography such fun (that and the eerie look of all that depth of field). There is another thing though, pinhole photography highlights an important photographic truth, which is that with photography you do not capture an instant on film, you capture a period. Manipulating the period is one of the most powerful choices available for anyone engaged in 'Thinking Photography'

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