Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Beyond the Death and Rebirth of Photography...

I sometimes read these photography post mortems with a rather bemused look. They're usually very erudite and well written, and sometimes even make a couple of very valid points. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way I (usually) seem to lose interest. Perhaps it's because I've entered my second half of the century, I'm no longer ceaselessly searching for "answers." I no longer ask "what do women want?" I rather accept the fact that we're different, have a beer, smoke a cigar. Secondly, I don't have a dog in the fight- my "career," my "finances," my "reputation" will neither suffer nor gain. If my livelihood depended on it, I suppose I'd be a tad more attentive.

In the seventies there was talk of how we would need to make the world visually (as in photographically) literate. People would have to learn the language of photography. Some would argue we still haven't done a very good job of it, and we're now mired in a hopeless sea of cliches. Others, that we're at a technological and aesthetic crossroad of indeterminate consequence and unforeseen results.

When I first came to California I was overjoyed with my first mountain bike purchase. Ten years later, there are downhill mountain bikes, uphill mountain bikes, cross country mountain bikes, and commuter mountain bikes available with full suspension, front suspension, or no suspension... and what wheel size, please? Back in the day, photographers could diversify- via film or format. Today, practically every single digital camera purchased, amateur and professional, SLR or point and shoot, gets individually customized by its user- often only to produce predictably similar results.

Technology will proceed, improve and on occasion digress- as photography will continue to diversify and incorporate: retro film enthusiasts, multi media story tellers, up to the second digital journalists with their portable computer imaging and media devices. Each will find their niche, and reconfigure with every major technical innovation. Remarkable images will continue to be presented in print, electronic screens- and mediums unimagined. And more visual junk and clutter than ever will continue to be made. Bigger, sharper, ever present.

Our potential to keep doing this is endless, our resources are not, and there lies the ultimate rub. In the meantime, take pictures, make them if that's what you do, the technology ultimately aint important- the results sometimes are.

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