Tim Wu discusses slow photography

January 20, 2011 | By | 1 Reply More

Many of us, much of the time, run around snapping lots of photos to document our lives. There is an alternative to this “fast photography,” as described by Tim Wu at Slate. It is a technique for enhancing our experience of the moment:

[S]low photography is the effort to flip the usual relationship between process and results. Usually, you use a camera because you want the results (the photos). 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. . . . Step 1 in slow photography is spending a long time studying the subject. As one guide enjoins, “pay more attention to your subject than to your camera.” . . . When you look carefully and avoid trying to label what you see, you inevitably start to notice things that you mightn’t have otherwise. . . .Step 2 is the exercise of creative choices—the greatest pleasure that our automatic cameras rob us of. What should be in the frame and what should be excluded is the most obvious decision, but there’s also exposure, depth of field, and more technical choices beyond that. Making such deliberate decisions requires a little bit of courage, for you cannot blame the camera if the results are bad. Yet these choices are, to my mind, the whole game. They are what individualizes photography, what puts the stamp of your personality on the photo.

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About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Dan Klarmann says:

    That's sort of why I like doing time-lapse exposures when I travel. Time to contemplate the scene.

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