With an unending deluge of photos spraying out of smartphones, it’s hard to believe that photography used to be an art which demanded patience and time. Lots and lots of time. Whether amateur or professional, you would first begin by learning to observe the world around you and hone your eye. Then would come the magic: immortalising the subject when it is at its most expressive.
There was no question of rapid shutters and lucky shots, hoping that at least one would be a success. Quite unlike today’s digital devices, film photography left no room for chance. They were the opposite of automatic: this technique demanded extreme precision, with a balance of speed and composure required for the final black and white image to achieve striking beauty.
The key moment in the process was what was known as “exposure time”, a brief moment which held everything in the balance. It was in this brief time that the shutter opened and allowed light to penetrate through to the film. The shorter the exposure, the clearer the image. Conversely, a longer exposure led to a blurry picture which could suggest movement and speed.
This exposure time would be adjusted using a dial, whose typography has been reproduced on the Klok-01 Minimal timepiece. In this way, Klokers pays homage to the classical art of photography through the latest model in the collection.
Nowadays, we can capture, enhance and publish our digital memories in just a few clicks or swipes. Is this better or worse? Clearly, this is not the right question for a budding watch brand which leans equally towards tradition and innovation. The key idea, rather, is the concept of exposure time - that precious moment that allowed photographers to accurately capture a moment. Compare this time to act with our own fast-paced era, in which we could all do with a little more time to think and reflect.
The hours run into one another and rush by: everybody must now maintain their rhythm, control their own timeline, listen to their body clock, be in the now and carve out some kind of space for themselves among the rush. We’re all looking to attain what Mihaly Csikszentmmihalyi described as “flow” in the 1970’s, our optimal psychological state. This mental state is characterised by an immediate sense of joy and zest, a state of “grace” you achieve when you are fully immersed in physical, intellectual or manual tasks. Could we not then start by learning the old art of film photography and its concept of exposure time to help us access this precious flow state?
Text: Frédéric Martin-Bernard