It’s a subtle shift, and have struggled to put my finger on it. The subject matter hasn’t really changed, nor has my appetite for taking photos diminished.
It is now what I call mindfulness. But what does this mindfulness mean in my photography?
It is a sense of slowing down, taking in what is around me and really taking in what I am seeing. I am in much less of a rush to take the photo, and have less of a need to take endless photographs.
With digital, photography has become much more instant, and disposable. It’s far too easy to take too many images in the hope that one turns out. I have become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of digital images I have.
While I like photographing in digital, I have found I have started approaching digital photography with much of the same discipline as film. With film, I am very conscious about the number of shots on a roll of film.
When shooting on film, I will often limit myself to 2-3 rolls at a time – regardless of whether it’s 35mm or medium format. With digital, I often don’t set a hard limit on how many photographs I will take, but I have more of a sense – and discipline – to pause and give each photo space; as I would with film.
This doesn’t mean that I have stopped exploring subjects by taking images from different angles. However, there is more of an emphasis of quality, not quantity. Am I taking a photograph because it speaks to me or has it been taken just because I can?
In slowing down, I am noticing things or see things more – which I had possibly missed before. I feel a lot less pressured to photograph everything and anything – in case I miss that magical moment.
Perhaps my mindfulness is related to thoughtfulness. I am finding myself much more aware, considered, and being in the moment. If I miss something, that’s okay. I will get something else.