less haste. More speed was one of my mother's favorite sayings. To be honest, when I was younger, I had no idea what she was talking about. But as I grew older and as my interest in photography expanded, I came to understand the wisdom of the words. This is my current workhorse camera, the one I shoot with every day. I can shoot 12 frames per second with this camera, and it's rumored that one of its successors will increase that to 20 frames. Modern technology has enabled us to take more pictures more quickly for longer periods of time. But quantity doesn't necessarily equate to quality. In fact, in my experience, one almost always comes at the expense of the other. When my father died, I inherited one of these is a five by four field camera made by a company called Ebony. It's a piece of art, beautifully engineered out of wood and titanium in a small workshop in Japan. Now I've never worked with a field camera before, and so I decided in my spare time I'd learn how to use it. I create...
d a little project for myself around a nearby landmark and headed out Whenever I had the time, I gave myself a little project. Using Portland Bill Lighthouse as a center point, I drew an imaginary circle 100 m in radius as my boundary. And for the next year, that's where I photographed. I talked probably 100 images, all of which told a completely different story. All within that tight circle of land. And what it taught me was to slow down, to get to really know my subject and to see my surroundings with my mind as well as my eyes. As any large format practitioner will tell you. When it comes to field cameras, there's a lot to learn. But what I learned most of all was the truly great benefits of slowing down. Nothing can be done quickly with an ebony. It's big and heavy and has to be used on a tripod. Light readings have to be done manually, and exposure settings are set by hand focuses, manual and affected by the tilt and shift movements of the front and rear plates. Film has to be inserted one sheet at a time, and there's no mirror or digital wizardry to flip the image, so everything is upside down and back to front field Cameras are slow going, and therein lies their beauty. They force you to slow down, and slowing down encourages you to contemplate more. It makes you think more methodically about composition and to consider your intention more thoughtfully. It inspires you to adjust your perspective more often and to think about not just what you're photographing and how. But why you're photographing it, too. When we act in haste, it results in stress and tunnel vision, neither of which are conducive to creative thinking and self expression. When you rush through life, you have no time to stop and be present in the moment, let alone immerse yourself in. And if photography is about capturing the decisive moment, then in my view as a photographer, that's where you should be. In the moment. We are not visual stenographers. Our job isn't to simply record events happening in front of us, as if we're casual, disconnected observers. Our job is to learn the lesson each distinct moment has to offer and having taken it upon ourselves by becoming photographers to share that knowledge with the world through photographs, everything in life from the people we meet to our experiences and interactions is a tutor. Remember this When you're with your camera, nothing is ever learned in haste. Slow down and listen to what this moment has to teach you and then take a photograph so you can pass on that new knowledge to me and others.