Slow photography

Back last December on a birthday weekend in Belgium I lent my camera to a stranger and this is the result.

The waitress in the café was amazed by my camera when I got it out to take a shot of a table where jams and preserves were set out and Christmas baubles hung amidst the pendulous lights.

Birthday brunch

I showed her how to look through the waist-level viewfinder and she swayed a little, doing the Blad shuffle as she looked at the image reversed in the ground glass screen.

She called her colleague over to look through while the first waitress struck the right pose. I let them take a shot, then asked for one of the two of them together.

I don’t usually photograph strangers. I’m often a little shy — I don’t like to intrude. And I’m not comfortable with street photography, which feels a little like stealing. But this, though, this felt natural and right.

Back at home, there was Christmas and New Year. It was a while before I developed the film. And when I tried to scan, the scanner was having none of it. So I had to wait to get into the darkroom before I had something I was reasonably happy with.

Which is why Easter has just passed and I am looking back at the run up to Christmas. But in my book at least, the best photographs are the ones you’ve forgotten you’ve even taken until one day the film is developed and you hold in your hand a memory.

I hope that these women had a good day when we took these shots, and the photos I sent off to them today will remind them of something good from a Christmas past. Because that is one of the things that slow photography should be about.



  1. I love the notion of slow photography — photographs taken, laid aside and allowed to mature. It’s such an attractive notion, especially in this era of the Instagram.

    • It’s one thing that appeals to me greatly in photography. What I don’t get though, is why I don’t do the same with digital. But mostly when I shoot digital I don’t look at the photos unless I’m uploading them somewhere.

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