A Certain Lack of Focus

Monday, January 14, 2008

Camera Counter Culture

I never wanted a camera phone. I bought this crappy chocolate back in March and didn't notice it had a camera until a few days later.

So why did I start doing this photo-a-day thing? Because my phone's memory is already filled with photos. After careful erasing I've got 200 photos left.

fogEveryone has those, "Gee, I wish I had a camera," moments. When I was an undergrad at ND I was returning to my dorm one day from the student center and I stopped mid-step in astonishment to look at the library. It was painted neon-pink from the sunset. It was one of the coolest natural lighting phenomenas I've ever seen. I had one of those moments then, and after a minute of being frozen in place by awe and indecision I ran like mad to my dorm to grab my camera. Of course by the time I returned the light was gone and I wished I'd just stayed to enjoy it. Then, a few years ago, driving in downtown Cleveland I was struck by the beauty of the buildings rising out of the fog. Not that I could have taken a picture even if I'd had a camera handy, but still, it gave me that feeling. Fortunately, fog and Cleveland are pretty constant bedfellows, so I've had many opportunities for further cool shots.

And now that I've GOT a camera phone, whenever I get that feeling, it's slowly followed by the realization that I do have a camera. Often my reaction is too slow to catch the moment, but I get it far more often then I did before.

mirrorThis all made me think about the next generation, the kids that are growing up in the information age. This statement makes me sound pretty old I guess, and I'm not that old, but I'm not a child of the information age. I remember not having a computer. I remember not having a cell phone, much less a camera phone. Hell, I remember having a walkman that played cassettes. My point is that although people of my generation are generally very adaptable, we're used to rapidly changing technology, we're not quite as used to it as the new generation. We adapt, but the kids change as rapidly as the technology.

Soon enough, everyone will have a camera, all the time. Unlike me, these kids won't have that half second hesitation that makes them miss the moment. I'm just curious as to how this change could affect the face of photography, of imagery, and of art.

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