Teju Cole in the essay Double Negative from his book of essays Known and Strange Things, says that
Photography is a fast art now, except for those who are too old-fashioned to shoot digital. But for most of the art’s history – until about fifteen years ago – most photographers had no choice but to be slow. . . . A certain meticulousness was necessary for photographs, a certain irreducible calmness of temperament.
Creating a good photograph is not fast, especially if the photograph is in the genre called “fine art”. (Who decides whether or not a photograph is fine art?) The only time shortened by digital photography is development time, what I consider feedback time, the time between clicking the shutter and seeing the photograph. Whereas in the film era, I dropped my film off at the camera store and came back a couple days later, I can now see the digital photo within seconds of activating the shutter. A good digital photographer takes no more or no less time before clicking the shutter than a good film photographer. A good digital photographer then often takes considerably more time with some sort of processing software to complete a photograph. A good photographer is just as meticulous – if not more – in the digital world of today – then when shooting film.
Photography has always been a fast art; that is one of the reasons I’m attracted to it. I used to draw. I found drawing too much of a slow art.
Yesterday while at Brueggers, I read 4 Ways To Make Space In Your Brain To Create by Liz Fosslien and Mollie West. The first of the four is daily Morning Pages. The Morning Pages technique was described by Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way: “[Morning Pages] are three pages of longhand writing, strictly stream-of-consciousness.” I have found that for me, using an online journaling website (Penzu) is better for stream-of-consciousness writing. My longhand writing is so bad and tedious that it gets in the way of my stream-of-consciousness.
Another of the four is from Ray Bradbury’s Zen In the Art Of Writing. It is to
Buy a book of poetry and a selection of essays (perhaps some from a previous decade). Read a few every day to help your mind foster a state of creativity.
I will never turn down an excuse to visit my local, indie bookstore and buy a book or two. So I bought Garrison Keillor’s Good Poems and a small book of essays by Michael Kinsley, Old Age: A Beginner’s Guide. This morning I added reading an essay and some poetry to my morning routine.
Old Age: A Beginner’s Guide is targeted at Baby Boomers of which I am one. I read the foreword by Michael Lewis and the introduction by Kinsley; no essay yet. The introduction ends with
If you want to be remembered as a good person, then be a good person. Who knows? It just might work. But start now, because if you’re a boomer, time is running out.