Slow Looking: an introduction

Tue 19 Oct 2021 - Tue 19 Oct 2021

Touchstone display at The Photographers' Gallery, featuring a work by Anthony Cairns, 2019 photo: Tim Bowditch

Slow Looking: an introduction

Tue 19 Oct 2021 - Tue 19 Oct 2021

We see photographs hundreds if not thousands of times every day in all kinds of contexts – on smart phones, in newspapers, advertising and elsewhere. Considered part of the slow movement menu, slow looking is simply a way of slowing down as we take in our visual world using skills of observation.

The Photographers’ Gallery is committed to supporting engagement and visual literacy with photography and digital media. We do this through a series of programmes and resources that encourage people to look, discuss and analyse photographs within exhibitions and displays, as well as during events.

Our exhibitions often feature response cards, available in adjacent resource spaces. These invite visitors to comment on specific photographs or projects. Since 2012, we have also programmed the gallery-based Touchstone display featuring a single image. Touchstone also began in an online format, with a different single images, in Summer 2020.

Our audio-described tours for people with visual impairments hone in on 3 to 6 works for deeper reflection and discussion. These also moved online in 2020, and were supported by the Vision Foundation.

And for several years, we hosted Look Again sessions with Janneke van Leeuwen using the Visual Thinking Strategies methodology that involves looking, talking and listening to others’ views.

Each year, in April, The Photographers' Gallery takes part in the annual Slow Art Day. On this day, people in different parts of the world come together, in a range of contexts and venues, to share their thoughts and ideas as they spend time looking at a deliberately small selection of artworks.


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