The power of staying put

When we travel and photograph new places, we are often tempted to try and capture it all. After all, few of us  have the time and resources to visit places like Paris or Sydney many times during our lifetime. This is understandable. 

Unfortunately, we often subscribe to this rush mentality when photographing closer at home. You don’t need to look far. Go to YouTube and you will notice a plethora of photographers running around the streets as if their objective was to do as many kilometers per day as possible. What’s the problem with this approach? There are many. 

I don’t want to ruin your weekend with an overly long piece so let me cut to the chase. To connect, accustom, recognize and eventually craft a fascinating frame that’s just you, a photographer must spend time in the environment they intend to photograph. There are no shortcuts! 

If you don’t know what I mean take a look at landscape photographers. They visit the same location over and over again. They spend time waiting for the right light. Some even make an effort to connect with the place in some incorporeal sense. 

When Ibarionex Perello and I met in Paris, we both spent time in some spots. Ibarionex coined the phrase “lingering in space” which I really like. Indeed, it describes the idea of being and accustoming your seeing to make it anew. 

Not only does such a laissez-faire approach allow your visual radar to eliminate distractions and visual banalities but most importantly it opens up your seeing to new visuals. This is priceless.

Here are the images captured during my recent visit to Melbourne and Sydney Australia, where I led my Visual Poet Experience Workshop.

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11 thoughts on “The power of staying put

  1. I have slowly started to learn this lesson in street photography. When I lived in Alaska and took landscapes, I’d spend hours in the same spot waiting for the right light. Now that I live in Bangkok I am tempted to walk everywhere. When I stay put for a while and “linger in space” I get my best photos.

    How long did you stay in some of these spots to get these images?

    1. Jeff,

      When I travel to some new places, I usually try to limit myself to 30-40 minutes (as there is so much to see). However, when I photograph here in Vancouver or shoot in any city I am familiar with – I could stay up to 2 hours in one location.

      Thank you so much for visiting and sharing your thoughts.

      All the best,

      Olaf

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