The quenching of chlorophyll fluorescence caused by photodamage of Photosystem II (qI) is a well recognized phenomenon, where the nature and physiological role of which are still debatable. Paradoxically, photodamage to the reaction centre of Photosystem II is supposed to be alleviated by excitation quenching mechanisms which manifest as fluorescence quenchers. Here we investigated the time course of PSII photodamage in vivo and in vitro and that of picosecond time-resolved chlorophyll fluorescence (quencher formation). Two long-lived fluorescence quenching processes during photodamage were observed and were formed at different speeds. The slow-developing quenching process exhibited a time course similar to that of the accumulation of photodamaged PSII, while the fast-developing process took place faster than the light-induced PSII damage. We attribute the slow process to the accumulation of photodamaged PSII and the fast process to an independent quenching mechanism that precedes PSII photodamage and that alleviates the inactivation of the PSII reaction centre.