Once upon a time, I had an email signature that read in part:
"Philosopher, Photographer, Preacher, Pirate, Poet"
Fools, the lot of them. They are utterly bereft of the benefit of perspective. They can't see the nothing new under the sun they have discovered. Or maybe they are feigning ignorance for the sake of the uninformed. Perhaps I will give "Them" the benefit of a doubt!
This could rapidly devolve into a rant against the dispermanence that has infiltrated our subconscious. (creed: I believe humans are accepting that they are dispermanent apparitions content to exist for a short while as replicating glyphs of coalesced energy. Some of them are right, I, however, plan to be around for a long time) I didn't set out to outline the disparity between action and thought, and the hypocrisy of recording the most precious of our intimations within a medium as malleable and dispermanent as something we have ironically termed "The Cloud" (are you kidding me? Clouds disappear when it gets hot, or after a rain! watch a storm progress, as powerful as it may get, they don't take long to peter out into nothing. when a cloud is gone, there is nothing left.) What I do intend is to display how dispermanence has affected the ability of humanity to record events in a static medium that adequately captures the essence of the moment.
The short version:
The best thing to happen to the art/science of photography is the digital camera.
The greatest strength that digital photography gives to the user is that it makes the recording of events very cheap. Being able to record events as they happen use to cost a lot of money. I spent over $200 just on film and processing to develop the pictures I took when I was in Jordan in 2000, and that doesn't include making specialty prints, or making double copies (often I got these for free at Wolf Camera), just the film, and the processing of that film. With a digital camera, you immediately have the final product, and in a media that makes it instantly shareable with anyone who has an internet connection. Regardless of location, from shot to view is as quick as it's taken.
That's incredibly empowering.
Nothing can be hidden.
At the same time, in some ways, it's become a lot easier to create a false reality. Now that the moment has been condensed into math, it's fairly simple to change variables, and therefore inject your subjective take on the situation. Many times this is done benevolently, with the intention being to improve aesthetics or to highlight a particular aspect of a subject for education and illumination. There's nothing wrong with that, but it does make possibile malevolent subject manipulation, even to the point of completely altering the point in history to reinforce a false narrative.
We all know you can't believe what you see on tv or the internet.
For some reason though, we have no problem trusting the internet to keep our data safe.
This problem and hypocracy needs further exploration and thought.
I want to focus for a brief second on what making something cheap and common does to the psyche of the person using it. What makes a photographer a photographer now that everyone is a photographer? What makes a story teller a story teller now that everyone tells the story?
Here is some truth:
- If everyone can tell a story, to control the story, one must make sure only one story is told, whether it is the truth or not. Sell the big lie once, to the right voice, and you immediately capture the echochamber, and perpetuate the falsehood to serve your agenda.
- If the truth escapes, you can generate many other stories, so that the truth is lost in a competing stream of lies.
- Cynicism becomes the primary lens through which we trust the information we review.
That's as brief as I can be right now.
Remember the fallen on Memorial Day.