Slow photography

Just been to the How We Are exhibition at Tate Britain.It traces British life through photographs taken from as early as the 1840s. Some of the prints are stunning, others are moving or witty. I love the mug shots that were used to identify suffragettes and keep them out of the London art galleries where they had vandalized paintings in the name of female suffrage. Photography is a wonderful art form in the right hands, and takes on more depth, meaning and texture with the passage of time. But the exhibition left me feeling that we have lost something along the way. In the old days, when photography was slow and painstaking, you thought hard about what you were recording and how you were recording it – and then you cherished the print afterwards. In the digital age, photographs are so fast and easy to take that you hit the shutter release without even thinking. And then you leave the images on your computer hard-drive because you’re too busy to make prints. It all feels very disposable.