Discover more from Process by Wesley Verhoeve
Process 102 ☼ Unveiling the Magic of Slow Photography in France
Capturing the Essence with the modern classic Fuji XPro2
Today we will talk about Slow Photography, and I will share some of my favorite work of 2023 so far. All shot in the French countryside with a Fuji XPro2 kindly provided by my friends at MPB.com.
It’s a total throwback to the calmest and most gently focused period in my photography and I’m so proud of this new body of work.
A few days in Burgundy
I had arrived in France's beautiful and pastoral Burgundy area, specifically the village of Loivre, after months of anticipation. This trip was not only a chance to see my dear friend Arsie but also to meet her baby daughter Sami. As a bonus, it also turned out to be an opportunity to truly rest for the first time in years, and take some photo walks.
The first time I discovered the power of meditative photo walks was during the first five months of the pandemic while I resided in a quiet suburb of Vancouver. This resulted in a body of work from which I created my photo book NOTICE, with the help of friend and designer extraordinaire Dan Rubin.
The pandemic forced me to slow down, shifting my once fast-paced, city-centered photography to a more attentive and environmental approach. Instead of racing around, seeking interesting people to capture, I found myself gently strolling through what I had previously considered a slow and unremarkable suburb. To my surprise, it was a small universe brimming with wonder, beauty, humor, and unexpected moments.
In France, I found myself in an Airbnb nestled in the middle of nowhere, with my friend Arsie and her beautiful baby daughter, along with our friend Laura. Our days were filled with conversations, walks, and the most beautiful form of nothingness. It reminded me of the benefits of recharging and filling up the well, a stark contrast to my perpetual state of working as a freelances and constant connectivity to the internet over the past several years.
Each morning, before breakfast, and again in the early evening, I embarked on my photo walks. The French countryside greeted me with open arms, revealing breathtaking meadows of barley, delicate poppies springing from unexpected crevices in the concrete, and a delightful menagerie of dogs, horses, chickens, and cats. And the most astonishing part? Not a single soul crossed my path.
The resemblance to my time in Vancouver struck a chord within me, evoking a familiar feeling in my chest. It was a feeling of meditation, a calm focus, and an acute awareness of the magic that surrounded me. Light and shadow danced before my eyes, and I harnessed their interplay to create compositions that surprised even me.
As I meandered through the French countryside, my photographic style and way of seeing continued to slowly evolve. The slow rhythm of my steps mirrored the slower pace of my subjects, as I documented things that stood out to me. These moments of tranquility and introspection mirrored the way in which I had calmed down inside since arriving. Once again, the transformation that took root in Vancouver blossomed all over again in the heart of Burgundy.
In Loivre, the photo walks became an integral part of my days, offering me the opportunity to see more clearly the beauty of the world, whether it be in the bustling city or the serene countryside. The magic is always there, waiting patiently to be noticed, cherished, and immortalized through the lens of my camera.
In these moments of solitude and calm, I feel most connected to my surroundings. Celebrating the small, the unnoticed, and the extraordinary in the most ordinary of places. And then, as a perfect pairing, returning to the house to spend time with people I love who make me feel seen and heard completely outside of work things.
I hope this work inspires you to go out and shoot. I highly recommend taking a walk and slowing down at least once a week. Bring your camera and be inspired by what you have right in front of you, rather than dreaming of what could be.
If you're interested in experiencing more of this contemplative photography and supporting Process at the same time, I invite you to explore my photo book, NOTICE.
The second print is now available, and as a special treat, it includes a limited edition postcard. Your support keeps Process going and means the world to me. <3
That’s it for this week!
Next Week: My experience documenting the Boom Chicago Comedy Festival including portraits of Seth Meyers, Brendan Hunt (Ted Lasso), Amber Ruffin, and more. Also, the return of the Process Giveaway!
Keep shooting and take good care of yourselves and others. <3
PS Shout out to my friends at Carmencita Film Lab. They’re my favorite lab in the world and I’m grateful for our collaboration. Use code “PROCESS” at check out to get a free upgrade.
Digital — All images were shot on the Fujifilm XPro2 using the Fujifilm XF 23mm f/1.4 R lens. These are links to my friends over at MPB.com, which has become my go-to place to buy, sell, and trade used cameras and lenses. MBP caters to over 625,000 visual storytellers and provides a 6-month warranty. Thanks for supporting the Process community, MPB! <3
I absolutely loved shooting with this camera and lens combination. It’s the closest to the feeling of shooting an analog camera that I’ve experienced with a digital one aside from my trusty Fuji X100F. It’s small, light, flexible and it has true soul, which is rare.
Another good way to support is to spread the word by sharing Process with friends.
The Process Referral Program lets you earn exclusive items like a personal NOTICE postcard in the mail, a new Process eBook full of photo assignments, and a mini portfolio review. Thank you for your support, as always! <3