If you think that photography is not only to take a snapshot or seize the moment, but indeed the product of human thinking, then here you are in the right place!

In this web site we talk about photography as a language, not only as an aesthetic research or a limited documentation of today's world.

The photographic medium becomes a tool to convey thoughts, feelings and emotions through a more careful look, and an investigation into everyday reality.

By limiting ourselves to Italian photography, the SLOW WATCHING idea has close points of contact with the cultural operation carried out by Luigi Ghirri and the Emilian photo artists group since the 70's.

Gianni Celati wrote about Ghirri's work: "... [...] a sight that neither search for hidden treasures, nor looking for exceptional adventures."

The SLOW WATCHING project was born on internet in 2015 as a Facebook group and an art movement. This group is open to everyone and currently has more than 400 registered members from many of Italy's regions. The authors can submit their works to the community for a collective and shared reading, inspired by the principles of the movement.

The SLOW WATCHING is not a kind of photography, but an "intention" and a way of understanding photography. From its very beginning, it was natural to collect these ideas into a manifesto.

"... [...] The drafting of a manifesto is one component of what we call the artistic and literary movement characterized, in most cases, by a break or a renewal of the existing situation, typical of a particular historical period and of a specific region, which constitutes its identity, ... [...]. In art, a new movement is created and it can be defined as such when the artists meet and identify with the founder's thinking and proceed in the direction indicated by the manifesto. The movement therefore indicates a group of people who gather together around an idea to promote a particular vision of art. The term movement is derived from the verb to move, understood in this context as moving together in one direction, exactly what was agreed on... [...]"
Source: Laboratorio Di Cult 025 FIAF - Virtual manifestos by Monica Mazzolini

Since its birth, photography has been facing with being a faithful reproduction of reality or a free interpretation of the world. In the first case, if we naively trust the authenticity of the photographic medium, the image is considered as a strictly referential object and is interpreted as reality itself. Therefore the activity of the photographer is limited to a series of technical operations aimed at the most faithful reproduction of the world and the events to be represented.

We know that the photographer, from the simple framing at the beginning, conducts a stream of choices that make an interpretation of reality as a final result, that is his own personal point of view on the world.

As a consequence of his choices, the photographer, from simple camera operator grows into an artist. And when those choices are aimed not only at an aesthetic research, we can also read the photograph as a series of signs which go beyond what they simply represent. So the image becomes itself a producer of meaning and we are asked to shift our perception to a more complex and articulated level of vision.

We should not be misled by the immediacy of shutter speeds: photography is a product of thought and as such, in the phases of both its realization and fruition we need to approach the world in a slower, more attentive view.

Luigi Ghirri wrote: "From a communicative point of view, the important role that photography plays today is to curb the streamlining of the processes of reading images. It represents a place where we can observe reality, or its surrogate, which still allows us to look at things, while the perception of the images in film and television has got so fast that we simply can't see anything. It is like we were able to read a news article without anybody ever turning the pages of the newspaper. It is a kind of slow watching, an extremely important way of seeing things in today's life, given the accelerating processes from a technological as well as from a perceptive viewpoint over the last years."
Source: Luigi Ghirri, Lezioni di fotografia (Photography lessons), Edizione Quodlibet, 2010

For the last 100 years of its thousand years history, human being, firstly through the invention of motor vehicles, then film and television, has made its vision process faster and faster as well as shallow at the same time. Whereas in the past proceeding to a crawl was used to be normal, nowadays it has since perceived like an unpleasant inconvenience of traffic congestion.

Let's think about how much the way we look at a landscape or at every ordinary events of life has changed. Our unseeing eyes are neither able to dwell on them anymore, nor to be really involved in. As we were resigned not to be surprised with anything in our daily lives, we stopped to believe that instead it is important to do that or perhaps we have lost the ability to see, like we already knew everything.

Photography is the result of thinking, so SLOW WATCHING means to resume awareness of the poetry of ordinary existence through a closer, slower look and narrate it by means of photography.

It is highly important to preserve the dignity of everyday life and go back to be amazed even at simple things, because by rediscovering them we will learn to get along with ourselves and discover what Luigi Ghirri called "the sense of being in the world".

Translation by Claudio Calosi

Marco Fantechi