Growing up in Japan as a teenager, I always thought multi-tasking was good. The more things I could get done with less time made me feel efficient and productive so I folded laundry and studied with the TV playing.
When I became old enough to be by myself, I left home and Japan to see the world from different perspectives. As soon as I was detached from the society I grew up with and the unspoken rules that hindered me to think in certain way, I started seeing the surrounding world and its influences more clearly.
One thing I learned in recent years is that my multi-tasking amounted to unmindful acts. I completed the tasks without any invested attention, which lessened my attention span, but as well made it feel like no accomplishment at all.
I began to notice this everywhere I turned. One day, while I was sitting in the wait room of my dentist's office, there was a children's cartoon playing without the sound with the local radio playing music instead. My eyes followed the hectic actions on the TV. There was no break, not even a pause between the story and the commercial. The commercials were even more overstimulating that there was not enough time for me to process what I had just seen. My mind accepted it without fully knowing why. Oh, and the radio, thankfully nothing too catchy.
There's a reason why art museums don't channel soothing tunes from the ceiling (unless if it's a sound installation, or respective media). There's a reason why dedicated runners opt out of iPods. There's a reason why some movies deserve long segues of supposedly nothing. The soundtrack to life is sometimes nothing yet in this quiet more can be heard.
Giving attention to single thing requires commitment and effort in our busy world that gives no intermission without a fight. Just like perfecting slow fermenting bread using wild yeast, the quality of a thing may be hostile to the ideals of convenience or efficiency. Photography is no different. I apply the same concept to all my work and projects where time, process, and the long-form presentation cannot be substituted.
Often people think that the desert is devoid. I find that the desert is one continuous pause, long enough for things in the underbrush of life to get out, to help get back to the heart of oneself. These deserts also exist in our everyday spaces. When I'm there, away from the grid and everyday life, perhaps just in my head, all I sense is myself peeled back, and I try to reveal those secrets with my craft.