Just Looking Press is an independent publishing imprint, devoted to discovering wonder in ordinary experiences. The aim of the books we create is not self-improvement, or "positive thinking" but finding ways to engage more deeply with whatever our life is right now.
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Our first project is a Hardcover book featuring twenty contemplations and photographs. Available: Spring 2024.
Rewilding Attention: How To Notice Ordinary Wonders
By Menka Sanghvi
“Look” is one of the most simple and intuitive human instructions. Babies point long before they speak. As social animals, we are wired to guide each other’s attention. The team effort pays off in making better sense of the world. Nowadays, our most ardent sidekicks in this process are robots: algorithms embedded in nearly every technology. They tell us what to look at, who to talk to, what music to listen to, and which route to travel. These automated “recommendations” save us time and keep us on track. But by following them so keenly, we are becoming tamer, more predictable, and ultimately monotonous.
Rewilding Attention is a big nudge in the opposite direction. It is an invitation to break free from algorithmic recommendations. What happens, for example, if we take a moment to notice the beauty of strangers in the background of our photos before auto-editing them out? Where might we end up if we walked into town without a map buzzing in our pockets? How would you describe the weather today without referring to any numbers or icons? This isn’t about locking up our smartphones for a digital detox. It’s about doubling down on curiosity and care.
Each chapter offers a point of departure to take our attention in a new direction - sparking curiosity in something we tend to overlook, ignore, avoid, or simply take for granted in our digital environments. We will turn our gaze towards the physical empty space above our heads, the ancient weave pattern of a spider’s web, the fundamental stretchiness of time, and the discomfort of sitting with certain feelings. These contemplations draw on the latest scientific research, insights from ancient wisdom traditions, and stories of outliers who chose to see things differently.