I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the rising move towards instancy in everything we do. From Twitter to Netflix to reducing the thirst for knowledge to scanning the top line of a smartphone google search we live in a society where time and space is seldom afforded. We want instant access, instant gratification, instant response and decisions. But sometimes time is the essential ingredient in allowing us reflect on where we’ve been, what we’ve done and what was really important all along.
Photography is often the victim of instancy in the modern era. The old process of taking a roll of film away, watching it develop and seeing the image for the first time fully formed in print has been replaced by a quick look on the back of a screen at the press of a button. We often make decisions about our best images instantly without giving them the time and space to breathe. At this time of year I always look to remedy that - to go back through the archives and look at old images with fresh eyes and see whether my emotional response to an image has changed.
This series of images was captured in the summer at the 134th Durham Miner’s Gala and whilst I enjoyed the images at the time they felt somehow lost in a movement - more current news than a reflection of the people and peculiarities of the event. The consequence was that they were never published but looking back now I see them in a different light, a fresh context with new images leaping out at me that perhaps were disregarded before.
Instancy may be the friend of the consumer but the importance of giving ourselves the time and space to reflect, refresh and renew is something that even in 2019 we must never dismiss.