Lessons from the analogue world – Slow Down

Thames bw aug9

Taken after a photo shoot, looking over the Thames to Temple.

London is such a city of both tradition and permanence as well as dynamism and growth.

Yesterday I had a wonderful experience with a highly creative photographer, Simon Edwards, as we walked around London and the banks of the River Thames so he could photograph me for an update to my website.

We simply walked and talked in a leisurely way and every so often he’d stop and take a few shots, with me often continuing the conversation rather than stopping and posing.

Reflecting on that experience, I took lessons from the value of slowing right down.

A theme of our conversation, with both of us being of similar age, was the age of film photography. One element the photographer highlighted was how working with film forces the artist to slow down, and in so doing, their senses are heightened and they can be aware of “that moment” to capture.

Whilst he used a digital camera, he set it in such a way that it too slowed things down (eg manually setting the aperture and shutter speed and light settings rather than letting the camera do it for him).

We talked about artisans and artifacts, about memories and treasures, about the light of Monet and the craftsmanship of old cameras.

As we talked we.. slowed.. right.. down…

As we slowed down more and more, and right before we parted at his railway station at the end of our time together, he saw a shot he wanted. It will be a few days before I see the shots he took, but I already have a clear sense that the magic shot will be that very last one he took.

So often in our lives, we cram life and work with so much to do, so many goals to achieve, so many outcomes. In all of that “doing”, what do we lose by “being”.

Are we worker drones or are we artists?

What of our lives and work will be remembered as our legacy?

What artifacts will we create that stand the test of time?

Perhaps if we consciously make time to slow right down, we will see the magic that we might otherwise pass by, the moments of truth where we can create lasting magic.

Now, you may not think of yourself as an artist, but I disagree. Seth Godin would say we are all artists, Nilofer Merchant that we all have our own “Onlyness”. We each have a unique place in the world where we can create art in everything and anything we do.

Sometimes, though, we need to remember to slow down to see what that might be.

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