the concept of faster living was brought to my attention. I questioned if this is the way to live, as I knew I’d then be able to complete more of my daily tasks, make more money, succeed more often and ideally find time for my own artistic expressions. Would this give me a chance to be the artist I want to be alongside paying the bills? At first, I thought yes this is it! But quickly I realized this idea of faster living immediately draws you to the face of technology. Whatever the screen is that you choose, to live fast, you must utilize it constantly, to the point of losing all human connection and a sense of the world surrounding you. You become a robot answering the needs of society and letting go of what you knew of yourself.
It became very clear, living fast as it ideally would help us, is actually hurting us. As Dr. Stephanie Brown expresses, “What is supposed to free us ends up enslaving us. That’s the paradox of addiction. Whatever the lure, it seems so good, so positive, so helpful and so harmless. And then we’re hooked.” While technology has its needs, I’ve come to see they must be for the right reasons. Not to speed up your life to the extent of not truly living it. I choose not to be addicted and rather make choices that will benefit me and those around me naturally.
While our society continues to speed up around us, the means of exploration has become the new addiction. Travel is the new fad diet. This world is a big place and on a greater scale, we are finally realizing how truly small we each individually are. Coming to terms with that realization can do one of two things, force you to be small, timid and closed off from the beauty of this world or it can open you up, give you a sense of drive to seek out, and offer you the opportunity to not be invisible but instead be a voice of this beautiful planet. Travel instills humility, it defines the value of ourselves, those around us and the ground we tread upon. Which makes this new addiction in society, one worth striving for.
As the younger generation flourishes and the older generation open their minds, the amount of people exploring this world and striving for their voice is increasing. Naturally, we can’t help but want to capture those memories filled with adventure and carry them with us throughout life. While there are many ways to do this, the living fast choice would quickly bring you to a digital camera or in today’s age, a modern smartphone. As you can photograph just about anything and move from one to the next in a matter of seconds, this option seems to satisfy most people’s needs. I confront this quick way of storing memories with how much of that experience did you actually slow down and enjoy? Did you really see what you were photographing, or did you experience for the need of the lenses eye opposed to your own?
As a photographer myself, I am constantly checking myself in this rendition of an exploration. Of course, I too want to carry the memories of my adventures throughout my journey of life, but I always ask myself, what am I compensating for that? I knew I was lacking the experience for the photograph, so I strived for a way to capture moments in a more honest form. In time, this brought me to the power of film photography. The process of carefully loading a roll of film, dialing in camera settings and manually focusing the lens to take a limited number of images forces you to slow down. It begs for the attention of your surroundings, you must consider your light, those in the frame and the depth of field you want to focus on. You are motivated to embrace the experience in depth not only for the photograph but for your soul. Again, the reminder to slow down is prevalent.
I challenge you to slow down, in all aspects of your life. In everyday, look up and see the person standing next to you waiting for the stop light to engage, say hello. In work, ask questions and take your time to process, you will only strive deeper and fuller. In travel, dust off your old gear or pick up something you’ve never used before, load the roll of film and shoot diligently with the power to embrace your surroundings. Finally, remind those around you to slow down too, be the change you wish to see in this world by stepping back and taking that breath.
It is deserved, if you take it.