Slow-looking is the new thing for 2019. Slow film gave us the Sami and their reindeer herd on migration. Some two hours or more of progress through the frozen landscapes of northern Norway at the pace of a grazing reindeer herd, shown at Christmas.
Now slow-looking is the concept behind a new art exhibition.
So, a photograph for slow-looking. It is for you to contemplate, to lose yourself in a landscape. Be curious. What can you discover?
The hawthorn shrubs are compact and sturdy, thorned to deter animals from grazing. Their south-west inclination tells the direction of the prevailing wind on this exposed escarpment.
This photograph was taken on 26 January 2013. It's not unusual to see snow on the distant fells but a covering several inches deep is infrequent on the escarpment. On such a splendid day there will be walkers out to see the snow so solitary footsteps tell that it is quite early in the morning. This is a fresh, overnight snowfall. Two sets of footprints, heading north close to the escarpment edge. They appear to head for the cliff, then veer right, following the line of the escarpment. If you look right just above the hawthorn two small figures appear. They are oblivious of the photographer, me, who found their fresh footsteps some minutes later. Snow discovers the secret life of the place, as birds and small mammals leave their tracks.
In the foreground is Scout Scar escarpment. There's a hanging wood below the cliff and the top of a Scot's pine shows dark between the hawthorn shrubs. Farmland and a scatter of woods in the valley below. And in the distance the open fells rise up, indistinguishable from cloud.
Somewhere, I have an image of a snowman standing looking out over the escarpment. He melted and was lost several years ago. He stood contemplative, pondering. Like Caspar David Friedrich's Wanderer in a Sea of Mist, his thoughts incalculable.
I like the idea of slow-looking, of discovery. It's the Princess Margaret approach to visiting an art gallery, as her son Lord Linley once said. When you go to the National Gallery there is a single picture you will seek out and sit before it in contemplation.
Click on the image to enlarge and see more detail