“Wouldn`t it be great, he thinks, if every thought you had was a line from a novel; not related to yourself or your own life, pure fiction running through you, words about other people, easy.
That would be reading, Daniel.
Good point, he thinks.”
from “Flamingo” by Rachel Elliott
[ to savour ]
to enjoy food or an experience slowly, in order to enjoy it as much as possible.
If you want to read a book full of poetry and beauty, I can recommend “Flamingo” by Rachel Elliott. Not so much because of the story – even though it is a great story – but mostly because of the beautiful, and artful but not exhausting way it is written. Honestly, reading this was like eating the best dessert in a café in Paris, or gardening in between the best-smelling flowers, or photographing all by yourself in a beautiful house with large windows and evening sun casting shadows on a dark green wall – or whatever you would truly savour and enjoy.
Here is another quote from the Flamingo book and it describes something that I call bliss:
“…He is touched by this; it makes him feel something he hasn`t felt in a long time. Wanted, chosen, peaceful. Something along these lines. The kind of lines you might draw with a soft pencil, as you let your hand move freely across a sheet of paper. Daniel can`t remember feeling this relaxed. His senses seem heightened. He is aware of everything at once, this chair beneath him, Fridas chin now resting on his foot, all the voices and music, the smell of food and drink, this sweatshirt, the air around them. The more he becomes aware of it the calmer he feels.”
[ bliss ]
Supreme happiness, utter joy, or contentment
The joy of heaven
Intense pleasure or satisfaction from or as if from a hallucinogenic drug or a mystical experience usually without.
The interesting thing about bliss is, that once it`s there it usually stays for the day and it doesn`t go away even when shit happens. If I was to describe it, I would say it`s like some deeply rooted contentment, absolute peace and calm. And when feeling bliss you slow down by default, because everything feels more intense and like time itself slows down. Random moments start looking like a film or a scene in a book It`s the best feeling I know. Do you know these days of bliss, too?
While I haven`t found out how to actually trigger this feeling of bliss on purpose, I find that some things at least help making life feel more intense and help to get me in a state of savouring:
Looking at photographs, watching a film or reading in a novel that truly resonates with me. Also, time without rushing is a precondition – I can`t see any savouring happening when rushing.
While savouring my best photographs happen. I like to have time and to be on my own in a place to get into my rhythm and to get into a mode of savouring and of feeling the scene. I`m not quick, but extremely slow. Then I truly start to see and can move beyond the common photograph.
When photographing people, I`m usually not so slow because I don`t want to make them wait and feel uncomfortable. But I absolutely want to train myself to also slow down more when photographing people. Because savouring and taking time when taking pictures is also good for the people being photographed: Who likes to be stood in front of a camera – smile – click – off you go? What is that supposed to capture? Ideally, you want to take some time because it`s time that allows for a story and for a memory. Time is what life is made of. It´s what makes a picture valuable.
“See, this was you in that given moment of time. And this was you when that happened. Do you remember? It`s there. On paper, in this book. Page after page to savour.” Usually, it all looks nicer later. Which is good. And when you look up from your photo album, you see the world around you almost with new eyes for a while.
About the author: www.story-photographer.com
I’m a freelance Editorial and Business Photographer based in East London (UK) and in Metzingen (Germany). If you are interested in working with me, I would be happy to hear from you.