How long do we spend looking at the work we have created….. it’s complete, it’s printed, and maybe even mounted.. but how long do we look at it after that? Do we ever go back, and think, “I could have done that better” – and then actually done that…. Or do we move on and start something new and fresh, and more exciting?
I ask, because last year I went to an exhibition to see reproductions of paintings by Michelangelo from the Sistine Chapel. It was wonderful – a ticketed event – for free – with time to browse…. Trouble was, there were so many people wanting to see the event, that it was crowded and somewhat time restricted as folks flowed in and out all the time.
I think we were spending no more than a minute or so with each panel – though the ticket said you could stay as long as you wanted.
Minor White used to say that you should spend at least 30 minutes with a photograph – stare at it, embed yourself in it, search your emotional response to it – a bit different from my experience in Hull last year.
Watching people at a photographic exhibition the same year, I came to the conclusion that people were spending, on average around 10 seconds per image. Some obviously for longer and some for less…. And I’m as guilty as the next person for not allowing myself time to really ‘look’ – I think sometimes it’s because I’m with someone else, who may not be as interested as I am, and so I rush through – trying to please the person I’m with, by not dawdling around.
How long, is the right amount of time to spend? I have no idea, but probably somewhere between 10 seconds and 30 minutes….. maybe. The one thing I do know is that we don’t spend enough time looking…..
During this rather unusual year of pandemic – there have been many online exhibitions of art that we could see – including a tour round the Louvre…. I wonder how many people did this, and really looked…
Let me know if you did…….