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Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Slow Photography

In the old days when travelling alone, I would quite often pass a day wandering and loitering and taking black and white photographs with an old Pentax. Like anyone using black and white film, I tried to edit before shooting - moving around, kneeling, waiting for the sun to move. Even then, you knew you were only going to get one picture in every dozen (if you were lucky) worth having printed and enlarged. But the pictures that worked worked.

For the black and white photograph above, I hung around for a couple of hours in a street in Riga - I guess in about 1997; the street is Albertas iela.

I found it hard to adapt to digital cameras and to colour. I made a few attempts and gave up. I still used my technique of hanging around in a place, taking lots of shots. My screensaver is the soft focus colour image above, from Prague's beautiful Vojanovy Sady, an old monastery garden turned into a peaceful and very informal place to wander and sit. I took maybe a hundred photographs.

Today, the Internet is a riotous celebration of what you can do with a digital camera. I do hope some of the images are being edited into slow coffee table books.


Added 24 July 2018: This Blog post is expanded into the chapter "Quietism" in my book Silence Is So Accurate (degree zero 2017), freely available from Amazon, Waterstones and other booksellers.

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