Life can be very fast paced. We find ourselves rushing from one thing to the next. We don’t notice what’s around us because we are thinking about the next thing. When I start to feel like this I’ve learned that I need to stop and slow down. We can choose to slow anything down. Whether it’s reading, walking, typing, (she says, realising she’s typing too fast and creating a load of typos), or photography; we are in control. Photography for me has always been a bit of an escape and now when things are busy it’s more important to me than ever.
Photography can be a great way of slowing down. Take shooting on film for example. It’s a process. I pick up the camera, it’s metal body is cool to touch. I open the pod of film and I can smell the slightly chemical smell of the film. I carefully load it into the camera like it’s the most precious item. I wind it on, close the back and the click of that reassures me that no light is getting in there! There’s a slight worry. Did that load ok, did it spring off? When I go to take a picture, I am aware of the light, the textures, the meter reading in the viewfinder. I wind it on ready. I take a breathe, I hold my breathe. I check I’m in focus, I slowly press the shutter. The click of that shutter is the most satisfying thing, I breathe out and I relax. With film and a limited number of shots I am more aware and more careful, or at least at the start of the film I am. By the end I seem to speed up or I am distracted by something. ‘Oh look ducks! Click click oh my film is finished.’ Ha ha.
I shoot mostly on digital but I shoot on film for me and sometimes for pictures in the gallery. Shooting digitally means there is no waste, we can click away as much as we like. The bigger the memory card the more trigger happy we can be. The downside of this is that we can take a lot of shots, not think so much and end up doing more editing later.
On my facebook page (Sarah Loveland Photography) I posted a 12 shot challenge. I suggested that within an hour slot they challenged themselves to just take 12 shots, as if they had 12 exposures on a roll of film.
What I love about this is that it means we need to slow down and really think about what we’re doing. Where is the light? What do we want that picture to say? What do we want it to look like? What was it that caught our eye in the first place and how are we going to capture that? Do we really want that picture?
Before we panic and feel all pressured! Eeeeek just 12 shots! I’m not saying that we need to do this or be this way every time we are out with our cameras. We don’t. It can help our photography greatly and also, I find it very calming being there in the moment. I notice more, and see things I wouldn’t have noticed if I had been rushing around. With the 12 shot challenge I’m not saying that you need 12 perfect shots. If I’m shooting a roll of 12 shots on film, I would not expect to get 12 perfect shots. I’m human and sometimes no matter how well you know your camera, things don’t always turn out how you think. For me, I’m looking for 6 out of 12 that I really like. Sometimes it might be more or it might be less. That’s the way it goes sometimes. Slowing down might feel weird at first but keep going. Don’t do it in a high pressure situation. In those situations, shoot away and make the most of digital. Create these little quiet pauses in your photography when you can. Slow right down. Lose yourself in your surroundings. Forget everything else. Love the calm process of capturing what you’re seeing and feeling. Find the beauty in the ordinary and breathe.