a thought on digital photography

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by thomas_sullivan, Jun 8, 2004.

  1. This is not intended to in any way shape or form to start a digital
    vs film war. I shoot film right now, and am "playing around" with my
    son's digital camera. I expect I will shoot both in the future. I'm
    of the mind that film does certain things well, and digital does
    certain things well. Use them for what they do well.

    Now.........the actual discussion.

    Perhaps, digital photography is one of those things that come along
    and changes society. What do I mean by that? I mean a technology,
    be it mechanical, electric, or electronic, that not only added value
    to human life, made things easier for us, did things faster for us,
    but was also one of those items that actually changed the way we
    worked, played, socialized, etc. And it also opened the doors,
    technologically and socially, for future products, system,
    breakthroughs to come to pass.

    The last "great" device of this nature I believe was the telephone.
    Think about it. It changed everything from a handwritten note or
    actually travelling to meet the person...........into instant
    socialization with your relative, friend, lover, etc. It took
    socializing from only paper and pen, or travel.............to the
    electical medium.

    Is digital photography of this same nature? It takes all
    that "material" aspect of photography away. No film, no chemicals,
    no paper.........just machines that handle electrons. You NEVER ever
    have to have a digital picture in a physical form. EVER!!! You can,
    if you want to, but it can stay as electrons forever.

    Think about how that would change the entire world. An Art medium
    that has no physical form. How would that change how we interact
    with each other? I honestly dont know. This thought is rather new
    to me actually.........just kinda popped in my head while reading the
    latest digital vs film debate.


    So, in case you got lost in all that.......the discussion is
    centerred around....."An Art medium that has no physical form. How
    would that change how we interact with each other?"
     
  2. I promise I will not start a digital vs film war.

    I remember for a number of years now that books were supposed to be replaced by electrons. No longer would we need to waste precious space in our homes for bookshelves because our entire libraries would now be replaced by a computer 'tablet' and CD's would contain all of the books. We wouldn't need to trudge down to the bookstore or library because we would just download them off of sites.

    It sounds very utopian but it never happened and probably never will. The problem? People like books. They like holding them, flipping through them and just plain looking at them.

    I see the same thing with pictures. It's great that you can look at a monitor but most people share their photographs with friends and family. It's an interactive social event to pass around the photos. Try doing that with a monitor.

    I believe that while photography has been made more convenient by the use of digital cameras, people are still sending them in for printing rather than doing it themselves or just looking at them on a monitor. It's no different than your typical 1 hour developing, which in my opinion was the real landmark in photography for the masses.
     
  3. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    It's great that you can look at a monitor but most people share their photographs with friends and family. It's an interactive social event to pass around the photos. Try doing that with a monitor.
    Andy, you might see this differently if you had children. I watch my son and his friends, they crowd around the monitor to look at photos. They look at photos as much on a digital camera LCD or camera phone as they do on a computer screen. I have yet to see them pass prints around or ask for prints. They do like yearbooks and the like because they collect the photos together in one place.
    So maybe it's a generational thing, it will have the impact that Tom mentions, but it won't be this year or the next, it will be somewhere down the road.
     
  4. Thomas,

    I don't think digital cameras represent any great watershed event; it's digital technology itself that is the great sea-change in our civilization. Digital capture is just a streamlining of the digitization process.

    There has been an active and fascinating discussion about the ideas you've touched on above, i.e. the concept of art (and most everything else) being freed from its physical manifestations and the consequences for our civilization. I've lost track of the dialogue in recent years, but back when my wife worked at Wired Magazine, and later when I was studying related stuff at Harvard, I remember being just totally exhilerated by all the good writing that's out there on this topic. It really is the philosophical frontier of our age.
     
  5. jbq

    jbq

    Andy: that's funny, because digital transmission of pictures (whether they were originally shot on film or digital) is what allows me to easily send photos to my family (I'm in the US, they're in Europe) and have them print them there. Without that I'd either have to send film (out of the question) or to have the prints done here and then sent over (cost and annoyance of shipping, hassle of having to go to the lab over and over to get contact sheets then reprints)...

    Thomas: See above. To me, the final product of photography is still a print. Digital makes it easier to transmit an intermediate form that allows to faithfully re-create the physical product remotely. The analogy with the telephone only works to an extent, if you imagine that a digital picture never ever gets printed (and even then they have a form of persistence that doesn't exist for voice in phone system)m but digital photography goes much further.
     
  6. Jeff, I must be on the level of your son - I shoot 99% digital now, and I've yet to print even one of my digital files(!) - I am content with viewing/storing them on my PC. OK, I am not a professional photographer (in anticipation of another regular commentator) and don't sell my images; if I did, I'd need to supply them in a form which the market prefers, which I guess would be as a print, to hold in the hand or hang on the wall.
    To the question asked. I wouldn't claim to see the future, but I could believe it if digital photography does change the world in the way that you suggest Thomas. This is not to say that it will take over, but - as it's own kind of medium or means of expression - it could develop such a life of its own.
    I should add here Andy that I also prefer to read books (or hardcopies) rather than straight off the screen, but for me images are not the same...
     
  7. B. Gates said that the web "...would transform our culture as dramatically as Gutenberg's press.?
    <p>
    I wonder what state the web will be in 550 years.
     
  8. Ed - I guess from the way you write your question that you believe that the web will be defunct in 550 years - am I right?<br>
    Perhaps those who chiselled words into stone tablets thought the same about those who decided to use paper instead (surely stone will outlast paper any day?!)...
     
  9. Neil, no, I don?t know what happened with my question mark it was meant for the second line.
    <p>
    Actually I think the opposite of what (or how) your reading my words and that the web given the same amount of time?well it?ll probably be a pretty amazing thing. Twenty years from now will be unbelievable.
    <p>
    I see myself in a similar situation as T.S. currently shooting film only but definitely open too and realizing that soon I?ll be shooting digital or both.
     
  10. look at my last post, question marks everywhere...
     
  11. Jeff I'm not trying to make sweeping generalities and of course there are always going to be exceptions (ie as with children) but I believe in human nature and for me the book analogy will probably hold true for photography. I know some only look at their images on a screen and now that I have a good scanner the majority of my photos never see paper. However the ones that I really care about do get printed. They get passed around during critique sessions and I look at them in different light. I put them on my walls in different places. Photographs allow you to retain mobility. A monitor keeps you chained to one spot.
     
  12. Concerning the assertion that photography has now become "An Art medium that has no physical form." and "How would that change how we interact with each other?"

    For photographers such as myself, it has resulted in the globalization of the artistic community in which we can participate.
    What once might be characterized as the "New York School" of photography is now a global community, and participation is open to anyone who can upload images. Personally I find this a much more attractive situation than what would have been the situation in the past, where one would assemble a portfolio of images, hopefully convince a gallery in NYC to exhibit them, and then hoping that the art critics in the cosmopolitan media would find merit in some aspect of your work.
     
  13. "Perhaps, digital photography is one of those things that come along and changes society."
    Everything changes society but not necessarily heads or hearts. Technology is about what is in our Hands. Recent evidence suggests our Heads/Hearts are still in the Cave with the sabre tooth tigers and the mastedons. Don't know what will change that...probably not electrons. But we can hope.
    Tom...sure you don't live in "cali"? :)
     
  14. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    A monitor keeps you chained to one spot.
    I think that's why they pass around the camera and look at the tiny screen. And they ask to have a photo they like emailed, not printed. While to us, looking at something on a tiny screen seems limiting, to them, it's freedom. The analogy may be television - it was a whole lot smaller than a movie screen, but it didn't take long for most people to use the television far more than the movie theater.
    I think Neil has a point - it's not just kids. I only print things now that will go up on a wall or get sent to someone, otherwise, it's straight to the digital file. There's no need to print things that won't get shown as a print because I can look at them on the screen. Before digital technology, I could only look at and show prints.
    Broadening this, there is a valid argument that digital technology has changed a lot of things, but there are specific ways in which it has changed technology.
    Some people are bothered by the inherent transient nature of digital images, but this is just the latest development in a long process. There was a time when important facts were carved on stone, where they could last indefinitely, and when important paintings were on the insides of tombs, where they could also last indefinitely. The march of time has seen the march of impermanence.
     
  15. Good lord. Digital photography is one very minor aspect of information technology. The much wider world of IT altogether might some day approach 10% the impact of television or the automobile. But I doubt it.
     
  16. Speaking of Mr. Gates. He has flat screen panels on the walls of his Seattle Xanadu where he supposedly displays some of the great art from previous centuries. For me a digital Mona Lisa just doesn't cut it. Having said that, I think there is little doubt that going forward digital display and capture will be what people use and expect.

    Is it nice to hold a print in one's hand? Yes? But as Jeff said, kids are growing up in a digital world. They do not have the same set of expectations many of us have. If you grow up looking at the TV set or a computer screen to see the family picnic then that experience molds your expectations going forward.

    Nothing stands still. The telephone was probably the greatest invention next to steam power of the 19th century. The 20th century brought movies and the "talkies" which many thought was a passing fad. My mother who grew up listening to radio thinks television was the greatest invention of the 20th century. Most of us would likely say it's the Internet. Perhaps "greatest" isn't the right word. Maybe "impactful" is better.

    Yes film will last. Who knows for how long. But digital technologies will dominate for the near term (how long is that?). And clearly people are embracing it. Now digital photo technology is entering cell phones. And many said, who cares? Well, it's impacting the sale of "traditional" digital cameras. As the technology inexorably advances, there can be no doubt that wireless photo devices will dominate the consumer marketplace.

    Things change...

    To answer the question. An art medium that has no physical presence will in my view change less how people create than it will change how work is displayed/seen. For me. the great thing is it is democratizing Art, making it more accessible through the net. The fact that I can now capture an image and send it to a friend's phone or computer is revolutionary and very cool.

    Things change...
     
  17. some interesting thoughts, observances so far. First though, maybe a little more explaination why I think the digital camera might stand out amongst all the other digital and electronic things. The telephone...where we had electricity and the telegraph system before it...brought a thing into being that replicated one of our senses. It allowed the sense of hearing to occur over vast distances, and it put that device in the hands of every person at a relatively inexpensive outlay of money. But even more important........Instantly! Or using the neighbors phone, or public phones.......regardless, every person could afford to use it.......and did.

    Now, digital cameras, namely the point and shoots, has taken another sense, vision, and allowed it to be seen over great distances. Relatively cheaply....and also instantly. Yes, computers and cell phones had to come first, just like electricity and the telegraph lines for telephones. But it was the telephone that was easiest for the normal human to use............morse code sucks ;o) Yes, we had digital before the camera..........and had to use film scanners to make film or prints into digital.......as many are finding out, not the easiest thing in the world to do correctly. Or cheaply. But today you can get a 3 mg cam, fully auto, for less than $200, and even feed it directly to your email in the proper jpeg size.......or as Kodak calls it "easy share".....from cam to email with one button (i beleive....never did it, just read it)

    anyhow thats why I think the digital cam is the new telephone......duplicates one of our senses and sends it to another human instantly. I think those two items are the keys to this "watershed event" mentioned above. Which, btw, Beau..........do you have some links available to Harvard or Wired Mag that elaborates on this concept you mentioned.

    Also, the kids hovered around the monitor, never wanting prints......now that you mention it, I too have seen that with kids. Actually not even kids........my son is in his early 20's and him and his friends do that.........although my daughter is in her early 30's and she seems to prefer the print............hmmmmmmmm.

    The artist "New York School" now being a global artist thing.........yeah, thats another major change in social behaviour. Artists have always been known for that "coffee house" attitude.....now its apparently, for Bill, on the web.

    Andy........interesting about the electronic book though...must be that us humans dont find the computer better than the paper for reading the printed word. Where I work, a lot of things were traditionally done on paper. With the computer, the idea was that we could, and did, keep everything electronic. Don't ya know though, that everybody still prints the damn things out. Oh, a quick one page thing gets read on the screen, but a book, tech manual, etc..............printed. Yet these same people, at work, will pass pics around all day long via the electronic medium, never printing them out. But then there is no "sense" that goes along with the printed word, is there? I mean, its transformed into thoughts regardless of how we bring it in. Maybe it really does depend, this watershed event, on replicating a human sense directly, and increasing its distance of communicating.....hmmmmmmm. Just some thoughts that occurred in reading the above comments.
     
  18. "An Art medium that has no physical form."

    I think music would be your best comparison. With print photography, the medium IS the art. With music and digital photography, the medium is just a storage system that holds a set of "instructions" or "data" that is used by a device to reproduce the original worksor art.

    Be it a series of grooves in an LP, or bits on a hard drive, they are combined together to form a uniquely recognizable result. A gestalt.
     
  19. For me a digital Mona Lisa just doesn't cut it.
    The real one isn't exactly the entertainment experience of a lifetime either. But I know what you mean.
    When the rest of the world was inventing the Web, Bill Gates and his company were instead busily creating the Bob user interface. So it's great that he's evolved into a great futuristic thinker. Maybe some day his company will bring out a successful product that isn't just a better-financed version of something already done by somebody else.
     
  20. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    There's a reason why the electronic book hasn't worked, and why this may not be the best analogy. There are ergonomic issues about books that so far have not been resolved by the electronic books. Most people (probably in exces of 99.9999%) don't lie in bed looking at prints, or hold prints above their morning bowl of cereal. They do read books in these kinds of situations.

    The technology, in both size, feel, battery life, and viewability has worked against the electronic book being a viable medium. However, new technology is starting to come out that may change that. Low power "electronic paper," flexible viewing screens that are light, have long battery life, and excellent readability in a variety of conditions, is now working in prototypes, and could be in products in several years. This may make electronic books as pervasive as digital-only photos.

    I don't know what my son's generation will think about saving images. It may never be that important to them - images will be as transient as a nice dinner with friends. And while we may think that's "wrong," who can say that this isn't the way that they want to live their lives.
     
  21. I think the whole problem (or at least the major problem) with the idea that any information technology is going to change our lives for the better is that implicit assumption that we are suffering from a lack of information and communication as it is. Hardly. We're deluged with it.

    By the way, digital photography does have a physical form. No information can exist without physical form. The difference with digital is that you need a device to help you interpret the form, which is a weakness (e.g. digital books).
     
  22. There is an art medium not tied to physical form thousands years before digital photography: story telling. The same story can be told by different people, in different languages, read from different books; but it is the same story.
     
  23. "Beau... do you have some links available to Harvard or Wired Mag that elaborates on this concept you mentioned?"
    Thomas, wow, where to begin? I wish I had time to dig up some of the great articles on this. Try doing a "google" on John Perry Barlow or Nicholas Negroponte. They were two of the early "visionaries" in the early 90's who described, so far with great accuracy, what was going to happen to our world as a result of digital technology. Here are some samples that I really quickly located:
    http://web.media.mit.edu/~nicholas/Wired/
    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/2.03/economy.ideas.html
    Here is the site of the Berkman Center at Harvard, which I was somewhat involved in while studying there:
    http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/home/
     
  24. i think its just technology in motion, like anything else. email is probably more revolutionary than a digital camera, as far as communication. or instant messaging, or cell phones, those dreadful cell phones. :D
    <br>
    <br>
    everyone these days seem to be tethered to some sort of device, in one way or another.
    <br>
    <br>
    remember that icp thing we went to a long time back, with that device someone would wear on their shoulders, had cams all over it, and people behind could see eyeballs....heh....not to mention how many of the exhibits there were on tv's.....its a multimedia revolution!
     
  25. Men continuesly seeks for universe control (shame this word has some bad emotions attatched to it). Technology is what men develops from stone age to archive this control over the physical universe. First stage of tech dev. was focused on Matter and Space control, second stage on Energy; now we focus on Time. IT advances are focused directed to time (comunication). Photography advanced within this paradigm (time), the digi cam is just a 'natural' migration needed for the 'new' system layout of comunications.

    An Art medium that has no physical form. How would that change how we interact with each other?

    As pointed before here, even in digital you have a physical form. I think this question fits better to the invention of language:
    which physical form a poem has?
    IMO digital wont replace analog models as printed books or photography: why do we have a body (analog and digi system) for?
    For sure we have a new medium, but still is only an emulation of existing ones.
     
  26. Mark Ci beat me to the point that the images have to have some kind of physical form for viewing, and said it far more succinctly than I probably would have.

    As far as how society is affected by it, I'm just wondering how many ticked off granmas there will be 20 years from now when they haven't printed off a hard copy of the family pictures. Many people I know who are diving into digital do not print their images, or even save them properly. I know of 3 people now who have lost all their precious snapshots of the baby's christening or the nephew's wedding or somebody's 90th birthday celebration...because they slapped them onto a hard drive, enjoyed emailing them, but didn't back them up onto disk or print out a copy--and the hard drive crashed, wiping everything on it. They are NOT happy campers. This is one reason why if I'm shooting pics of an event I want saved, out comes my trusty little Canon sureshot with print film. I can always scan into digital.

    I'm also thinking of the effect of the cellphone cameras. Just look at how many gyms and clubs have banned these from the premises, or made people check them in at the desk, because of the abuse of these devices. "How would that change how we interact with each other?" For one thing, it has eroded trust in our fellow individuals when someone whips these things out in certain settings.
     
  27. Thanks Beau...

    ...and for those that think that a digital picture, or any other digital information, cannot be "no physical form" should read the link that Beau provided above on The Economy of Ideas

    ...an excerpt from said article "Some might argue that information will still require some physical manifestation, such as its magnetic existence on the titanic hard disks of distant servers, but these are bottles which have no macroscopically discrete or personally meaningful form."
     
  28. "but these are bottles which have no macroscopically discrete or personally meaningful form"
    <br>
    <br>
    what the hell does that mean
     
  29. ...to them, it's freedom.

    Digital cameras haven't changed photography, just made it more spontaneous. The average digital consumer is still taking bad photos/snap shots. Some people are willing to pay thousands for that convenience.

    remember albums? fragile and scratchy?
    remember cds? How many could you carry at one time?
    both those technologies are dead.

    Freedom is 2,000+ audio mp3 files on my ipod. Music, anywhere, anytime. That is freedom. Never have to go to a store to buy music...aren't mp3s without form?
     
  30. What we experience as the physical thing on a printed photography is the reflection of light over its surface, in 'digital' the physical space im refering is not the hard drive, cd bytes or whatever (is your printed photo on the chemicals the lab uses?). On your screen for example, the physical 'object' is composed by little 'magic' light dots.
     
  31. heh.......well, it was suppose to get you to read the article ;o)

    it means that the bottle is like the disk, the hard drive, the monitor....it has a shape, but it is nothing...except what is housed within it....which is like wine. The wine is the desirable thing, the digital information........the "bottle" contains it.

    further in the article it goes on to provide other examples.................it is the pitch, not the baseball, the dance, not the dancer.

    Like at icp..........it wasn;t the tv screens that were the art, it was the image housed in them that was the art. The tv screens were not "personally meaningful", the art (image) in them was.....well, some of them were anyhow ;o)
     
  32. I'm a bit of pessimist but I don't see visual communication replacing written or spoken communication anytime soon. What surprised me most about the communication boom is that we've returned to the written word with the advent of e-mail. For me that's caused more of change than digital photography ever will.

    I also don't see books being replaced because they are not inconvenient at present. Much of what I see with new technology, including digital cameras, is about increasing convenience.
     
  33. The real 'non physic form' revolution will begin when digital information can be delivered right to your brain without the need of our analog perceptions...
    <br><br>

    So what about LSD?
     
  34. im not so sure those things can be seperated....the dancer IS the dance....one cannot exist without the other....
    <br>
    <br>
    OHHHHHHHHH, its on NOW! :D
     
  35. I did read the article, still in my opinion is the same thing.

    A printed photo produced with film is just a technique that uses analog methods to store 'information'. The camera, the film, the papper, the chemicals, etc are the bottle. The same as hard drive, monitor, warrens ipod, etc. In both cases the physical world is just a medium a support. And we still the physical world to get something into our mind. :)
     
  36. Neil D. (also Jeff Spirer): "(surely stone will outlast paper any day?!)..."
    Sorry I've arrived at this party late... I still carve letters on stone and I expect they will last quite a while, but I take pics of them on digital... there is (and will be) room for both vanilla and chocolate. Each new technology / way of working / way of thinking doesn't replace all that went before it, a lot of it for sure, but there are remnants of all kinds of things left at the side of the main flow if you keep an eye out for them.
    [​IMG]
     
  37. Oh, I just remembered an article I read about digital changing the way we view images. The one thing that I found fascinating was the idea that people no longer save their snapshots in a physical form. The shoe box filled with old family photos is becoming a thing of the past. Most people, the article stated, probably would not take the time to transfer their old photos to the newer storage devices, and thus these images would become lost forever as old storage technology was replaced (sort of like albums on 8 track tapes).


    Obviously only time will tell if this happens, but if it does, it would be a shame.
    Going through those old shoe boxes can be a lot of fun!
     
  38. I was going to share my amazement at how well this discussion was progressing... but I see we're beginning to fall to our usual level! :-(
    On a more relevant note, Jake said, "He has flat screen panels on the walls of his Seattle Xanadu where he supposedly displays some of the great art from previous centuries." You took the words out of my keyboard (almost) - I was going to say that, in the future, flat screens will become cheap (or affordable at least), and then your average homeowner (and renter, etc) will have them in their places of residence. They could then display these digital images much like we hang paintings or prints now.
    Also, some images look better as digitally displayed images IMO - these images glow from within (really - from the screen!), whereas conventional prints don't. Note that I don't say that you need to have used a digital camera to get this effect: a digital scan is just as valid. Also, sure there are many (maybe most?) photos which look great, or best, on paper - I don't dispute this either. But displaying images via a screen can be the best way to present it, IMO.
     
  39. Paul when you say they would probably not transfer their old photos to new storage devices I take it you mean digital files and not old prints? If so I agree with the article. The nice thing about prints is that you only need light and eyes to view them.
    008UTH-18310884.jpeg
     
  40. Yes Andy, that was what I meant. They view their images on the computer, but never print them.

    Cool photo!
     
  41. Lots of high-falutin' talk about non-physicality, as if that's something desireable or
    somehow different from television or cave painting. Are you saying that a picture on a
    screen is different from a picture on paper? Is it a picture of what a picture *would*
    be? Or is it simply a different method of arranging the bits?

    They are arranged as streams of bits on a CD to be re-assembled on a screen, or they
    are trapped in a bit of silver and gelatin to be enlarged or scanned. In either case they
    are the same. The fact that it's easy to recognize a negative as such-and-such a
    photo doesn't make it significantly more or less concrete. It is not the final product,
    nor (and this is the Big Deal) is it the subject. It's a proxy, a representation of your
    dog, your grandparents, your trip to Nassau, or even the angst-ridden dreams that
    torment your inner child. A representation, in every case. And we've had those around
    for at least 20,000 years.

    Take a belt sander to your favorite CD full of digi pics. Are they non-physical? Yeah,
    you *could* have made a copy. You could have a copy neg too. Physical/nonphysical,
    plastic art/performance art, these are the basic issues of photography and have been
    for 150 years. Tell me, does a rack of heavy film spools resemble Marilyn Monroe?
    Only if they are processed on the spot by the appropriate machinery. Same as digital.
     
  42. no..............silver halides and "streams of bits" are different. silver halides have a physical form of their own, giving enough magnification you can actually see the physical form they have. As a matter of fact, they dont even have to be on the film to be physical, thats just a method to keep them altogether. Streams of bits...........show me a picture of them. Not a bunch of representations, such as 1's and 0's, or another construct to represent them, including ocsiloscopes, electron/proton/neutron models, etc. Stream of bits are not physical.

    But that's not really the topic here anyhow...........although it did digress into it...., the topic is how does digital photography change the way in which we interact with each other. The reason i said an art medium that has no physical form is becuase that possiblilty, to never be a print...positve or negative...paper or film, exists only with digital. It REQUIRES an output contraption to be recognizable by humans...............film is an output already.

    Digital Point and shoot cams put this in everybody's hands. Forget the pro photographer, or marketting people, or the fashion industry, or even the news photog..................they do not determine how every day man/woman/child will function. Everyday man/woman/child has a machine, easily obtainable, thanks to automation easily used and easily conveyed to other everyday men/women/children. And next to instantly...........film, even in your wildest imagination never had that.

    So, how do you think that changes how people will interact with each other?
     
  43. Thomas I can only judge based upon my everyday world and so far I see no difference. Maybe if I had kids it might be a different story because I know they spend alot of time on their cellphones etc. but other than that photos, no matter how they are made, seem to occupy the same space they did before - which is a keeper of memories for most people.
     
  44. well, Andy, if you want to have an inside view of kids way of utilizing digital pics these days.............pop on into a photoblog site. Yeah, there are some serious photographers in there, but the majority of the photoblogs are kids just showing what they see each day..............and no "keepers of memories" reside in that pile of snaps.....at least not the traditional film memories.
     
  45. I've seen some of the Photoblog sites. Not sure if it's going to change society though. Kids have a way of growing up and leaving that sort of thing behind.
     
  46. "silver halides and "streams of bits" are different"

    It's easy to confuse capture and output. I see them as two different things. I don't think digital cameras are going to be quite as revolutionary as telephones. Or even cellular telephones. However, they are revolutionizing photography. Personally I think it's a good thing. Kevin Bjorke made some eloquent points imho.
     
  47. the way it changes how people interact is that pix are more immediate and more accessible than theyve ever been by the average person. you can shoot a pic/movie on a cell phone and send it to someone while the event is still happening, wherever you are....id say thats pretty fascinating.....is it necessary?? well thats another thread for another day...
     
  48. ky2

    ky2

    Long before the information revolution started (late 60's), my father took some computer classes in the local technology-focused university. I always remember one thing he told me, after I showed him the then-new Mac interface (circa 1984). He told me that the greatest computer-innovation he has ever witnessed was not the GUI, or the Computer Terminal, or the keyboard; it wasn't the microprocessor itself, or communications, the PC, or the internet. The greatest thing that made the *most difference*, was the introduction of the now long-forgotten computer-cards. The change from paper stripes was so dramatic, it had rocketed the entire IT development procedure into what we know today. It turned computer-programming into a real profession.

    Digital photography is evolution, not invention. The greatest steps in photography were taken centuries ago, with the first camera-obscura, with the introduction of film, and with the introduction of mobile, compact cameras. As Beau noted above, it harnesses the power of digital-- but it does nothing more than that. Change society? Digital photography is more or less the equivalent of a better headache pill; it's not the cure to cancer or Aids.
     
  49. jbq

    jbq

    'no..............silver halides and "streams of bits" are different.'

    Off-topic, I visited the computer history museum (in "alpha phase") in Mountain View, CA, and one of the devices on display is a mass-storage device that uses photographic film as medium, complete with fully automated processor and scanner.
     
  50. well, after reading your comments and the links that Beau provided...and a few dozen google searches...I've come to the conclusion that digital photography is not the "great watershed event", but that digital information itself, for whatever medium its eventual use is, is the Great Watershed Event. If you only buy into half of what John Perry Barlow (one of the link's authors) said, it's already put the copyright and invention laws in the trash. Apparently they were all written and conceived with a "physical" product in mind. He says that they in no way adequately cover the digital information arena. That I can buy..........still mulling over his conclusions as to how to fix it though.

    However, one of the areas of his paper that does touch on the Art world had a rather interesting conclusion........"...In fact, until the late 18th century this model was applied to much of what is now copyrighted. Before the industrialization of creation, writers, composers, artists, and the like produced their products in the private service of patrons. Without objects to distribute in a mass market, creative people will return to a condition somewhat like this, except that they will serve many patrons, rather than one...."

    hmmmmmmmm...."without objects to distribute".......sounds like he is saying that the "print" is out of the picture.....at least from the Artists hands. Actually, I could live with that.......would be more than glad to sell someone a perfect digital file and let them deal with those printers....clog ladden ink monsters that they are.
     
  51. i found this, and thought it was interesting, regarding the 'physical' aspects you talked about...
    <br>
    <br>
    "It is quite interesting to know that the output from the CCD cells is in fact an analogue voltage, not digital. Even though we call digital cameras, ?digital cameras?, the CCD chip that records the image is analogous to an ordinary light bulb, not a computer. The ?digital? part comes from the clever internal microprocessor that is an inevitable component needed in order to make sense of the millions and millions of cell voltages produced by the CCD, which subsequently is formed into a recognisable colour image."
     
  52. Maybe it is the old question how spirit is related to matter.

    For me, analog photography is more related to the basic elements of nature. My physical being therefore perceives analog as more natural and related. In contrast digital is an exclusive creation of the human mind.
     
  53. No, integers are not creation of mind, they are mathematical reality;
    ....And mathematics is an abstract creation of the human mind - Quantum theory does not justify discrete mathematics....that's almost absurd. Binary computers function by simple, analog electron propagation resulting in a greater charge on one side of a transistor vs another that for a brief instant in time give a vote to being on or off - big deal. There's nothing binary about except in our heads. Quantum mechanics only shifts energy levels around a bit and brings the time domain back into the whole mess. If you've got some way to paint the exact energy level and position of a given electron/photon, and have a way to measure it, I'm sure Mr. Hawkings would like to talk to you.
    An Art medium that has no physical form
    Why are photographers such narcisstic dopes that think there's is the only real visual medium? A VHS tape of Monty Python consists of a magnetic media on mylar that forms a video playback. When I pull that tape apart I don't see video images in any form on the tape, yet a DVD or USB card is somehow 'mysterious'.
     
  54. Scott.........hmmmm, I stand corrected, yes, of course video has always been non physical of and to itself. But, then again, it has always been that way. Still photography has always been a printed medium............until recently, with digital photography. Hence the request for "how would it change things"...because it changed. But, I had forgot about vhs video until you brought it up, and I accept that as a mistake. So, the question actually should have been when video went from film to vhs.......hmmmmm.........or, when music went from "live" to acetate cylinders..........

    .....no, although I didnt form it correctly in my original question..........the difference is that digital (of any sort, now that i realize its not just pics) does not require a handholdable medium to keep it, to have it......does not need a physical object you can hold and see readily.........and Gibson (neuromancer) aside, you cannot see and touch the internet.....cyberspace.....which is where the differnce with digital exists. That nether world of cyberspace is where most of the communicating between people takes place. When was the last time someone snailmailed you pics (on cd) of your cousin Johnny. About two minutes before you both learned how to attach a jpeg file to your email I would venture to say.

    and i hate to admit it, because i had to look up the word, Quiche may have it completely correct.........with the simulacrum of digital being a simulacrum of itself...........you sure you aint from new jersey ;o)
     
  55. planet Quiche
     
  56. "the difference is that digital (of any sort, now that i realize its not just pics) does not require a handholdable medium to keep it, to have it"

    Yes it does. You can unscrew a hdd and hold it in your hand. The www is just a bunch of hdds wired together. That said, I'll take Willam Gibson over Jean Baudrillard anyday. :))
     
  57. Thomas wrote
    So, in case you got lost in all that.......the discussion is centerred around....."An Art medium that has no physical form. How would that change how we interact with each other?"
    If I understand you question, it doesn't or hasn't changed the way we interact with each other as it does have a form, film Vs 0's & 1's.
    There are a lot of folks about that are young and haven't any historical repository of experience to draw on. Coming from a analog paper society, pre 60's, computers and the digital world has had less of an impact then people realize. If you shut your computer off, turn the telly off, stop reading newspapers and go out and get some snaps, you'll find that for all intents and purposes, it's still an analogue world.
    McKean Road
    It only becomes digital when you turn the computer back on.
    It was mentioned about the cyber character in a cute and entertaining movie Al Pachino starred:
    "S1m0ne"
    and how the character had soul. I'm not quite sure but I think that was a sexual inuendo. With that thought in mind, some have trouble seperating out real world from cyber fiction in their thinking. Being old school, I couldn't imagine making it with an android "Blade Runner" or getting excited about a computer generated humanoid "S1m0ne" or having feelings for an android as in Data from "Star Trek" fame. As an old school dog, I'm partial to interaction with the real thing; humans. Even here on this Photo.net web site forum, many forget, at the extreme edges, there's a human (analog) on each and every one of these posts; both in writing/sending and reading/receiving.
    If one stops to think in practical terms, the digital camera world is little different from the world of the wet darkroom in that one captures the image and then processes the information to paper. One could overly simplify the digital process of digits and HDD's to that of a chrome slide. Power point has replaced the slide projector but for all intents, the purpose and final product is the same, an image projected on large screen with analog light to keep one from falling asleep during a required seminar:)
    There's a skill set that's required to get the information to paper but in the final, you have an analog image on the wall for viewing by others. Change? Very little. The process has changed but little else socially has changed. Take your CF card down to the local drug store, pop the CF card into the reader, pick the type of printing to be used, pick the image on screen to be printed and pick up the prints. Now the shoe boxes can be filled.
    In the final, it's all about how smittened one has become by the "new" technology. This will determine how strongly one will feel on the subject. To me, digital is nothing more then a variation of the same old song: "An Analog Print Hangs Gently On My Wall":)
     
  58. Kelly wrote
    Calling the century old term film; "analog" is buying into marketing BS; and shows a persons lack of understanding of how long "electronic still capture" has been around.
    I'm not quite sure your point.
    "adj. often analog Of, relating to, or being a device in which data are represented by continuously variable, measurable, physical quantities, such as length, width, voltage, or pressure."
    Analog, in this case, refers to measurable light wave lengths, not the on or off switches of the digital world represented by 0's & 1's. Film uses analog or measurable light, to cause a chemical reaction with light sensitive emulsion. There's a difference in the two mediums. It has nothing to do with media hype but it's an accurate usage of terms to describe a process to render light to paper. Digital Vs Film or Digital Vs Analogue.
    Car or truck, either will get you to work:)
     
  59. >Another visible vs. invisible debate, idealist vs. realist.<

    Yes, because this is the philosophy forum. What else do you want to discuss here?

    > So why don't we really go over the edge and try to explain conciousness and the "soul" while we're at it to, they to are mysterious<

    What edge are you talking about? Nothing mysterious at all. People just have different preferances.

    >.... Or maybe the "soul" is digital hmmmm..... <

    Was that supposed to be a cool statement?

    There is definitly a new dimension to digital vs. film. The quality of these mediums are really different. Digital is a calculated image. Film is like an anlog print of light recorded by chemicals.
    The picture taken with digital is not fixed to its recording material, it is an independant information that can be transformed at any time. Fragmented, processed information with many variable dynamical curves, not bound by parameters of its carrying matter that we have become used to in time. The illusion of "flexible" reality?

    Lets see how technology will develop further. 3-D chips?
     
  60. "The quality of these (digital/film) mediums are really different"

    How are they different? Looking at one great digitally made photograph hanging on the wall and looking at another great analog photograph hanging on the wall, how are they different at all? If they are both strong images and both with a deeper sense of meaning then I can't see any difference's but only the similarity's of their strong expression. In looking at 'great' photographs, the fact how or with what they are made with shouldn't really matter in terms of quality. Even if they aren't side by side on the wall , but the other one on a computerscreen , same believe of expression still would apply to both ( if the two of them really where strong, meaningfull photographs)
     
  61. Bernd wrote: What edge are you talking about? Nothing mysterious at all. People just have different preferances.

    Oh you're absolutely right nothing mysterious about conciousness at all... What exactly conciousness is has to be one of the if not the most elusive mysteries to science. Nothing has ever been proven about it. So if you're the genius you tell us and the rest of the world what it is then? Is it a byproduct of the human brain or the ground of its activities? There is a center for conciousness studies at the University of Arizona and it includes neuroscientists, anthropologists, philosophers and psychologists and they have yet to figure this out along with freud, jung, and countless others in history. No mystery? Go to the science of conciousness conference held annually for years now it's coming up and tell them that.
     
  62. >How are they different? Looking at one great digitally made photograph hanging on the wall and looking at another great analog photograph hanging on the wall, how are they different at all? <

    They are different because they were made in a different way.
    Even when the result looks the same one had different efforts than the other. I am not saying the one which took more effort must be better (better to what standards?). But a simple rule is that when something takes more discipline, endurance to create the result will be more valuable because there is more consciousness inside of the picture. If one likes the creator`s consiousness or not is another question. Of course there are master`s and exceptions for whom it doesnt matter. But for the majority of us it does matter what media we use.

    >If they are both strong images and both with a deeper sense of meaning then I can't see any difference's but only the similarity's of their strong expression. In looking at 'great' photographs, the fact how or with what they are made with shouldn't really matter in terms of quality.<

    I agree. But again, I suspect digital will cause a more sloppy attitude than film. Just wait and see in 10 or 20 years if digital will have contributed something to make photography more meaningful.
    More diverse? yes, but more meaningful? I am not sure.
    I believe the strongest killing factor on digital is its speed. We are not up to it.

    > Even if they aren't side by side on the wall , but the other one on a computerscreen , same believe of expression still would apply to both ( if the two of them really where strong, meaningfull photographs<

    In most cases I would say no, because an original remains an original.
    I have never seen a print from a painting that was as good as the painting itself. It doesnt mean that the print is completly different, but some magic gets lost. Similarily a photo on the screen loses. How much it loses depends on the translator.

    But after all I can be completly mistaken. :)
     
  63. >Oh you're absolutely right nothing mysterious about conciousness at all... What exactly conciousness is has to be one of the if not the most elusive mysteries to science.<

    I dont know what science says about conciousness, and honestly I dont really care. I dont care as well what science has to say about the soul. Simply because all the microscopes and tools science uses are just an extension of of our rational judgements and conclusions.

    Consciousnes, for me, is clearly beyond the domain of the mind, as well as the soul is, and therefore all crude attempts to put consiousness into the cage of rational definitions must fail.

    >Nothing has ever been proven about it.<

    Nothing needs to be proven about it.

    > So if you're the genius you tell us and the rest of the world what it is then?<

    You are lazy, right? :) That would be too comfortable. I am ignorant too. :)

    > Is it a byproduct of the human brain or the ground of its activities? There is a center for conciousness studies at the University of Arizona and it includes neuroscientists, anthropologists, philosophers and psychologists and they have yet to figure this out along with freud, jung, and countless others in history.<

    Never had a taste for modern psychology and am more inclined to trust people who have proven through their lives that it is possible to flow in the stream of greater consciousness or to have a realisation what the soul is.

    > No mystery? <

    Mystery, miracles- are these are words to describe something natural?
     
  64. Thomas....this is not a digital vs film debate. Please do not refer to that issue again. It is also not a theological debate. Please do not refer to that issue again.

    It has already been proven by first hand observations that digital has changed at least one interaction. Jeff's son and friends find no need to hover around a bunch of prints, they hover around a monitor of images. They dont even find the need to make a print. Is it a significant change, I dont know, but it is a change.

    Going away from images for a moment.........The articles (links) provided by Beau show evidence that our patent and copyrignt laws have thus far been written around a physical object being the subject of the protection. 1's and 0's on the internet, ie "soft"ware in the softest degree, are not a physical thing...regardless of where it is stored...you cant re=patent the storage medium becuase now something else is stored there...or is it still stored in the same physical item, they move around and get deleted ya know without us even being told, one server dies and moves to the next..........no, digital on the internet cannot be tied to a physical medium. And the law makers know it. If you read the articles you will see that this non-physical digital arena is most definitely presenting a problem for the legal profession. Thats a change..................and apparently very significant.

    And people arent leaving their homes and shutting off their computers. They take them with them. Not all those little handheld devices you see in peoples hands are being used as cell phones ya know. Some are tied to the net........they IM each other in the same city, some never meeting each other, yet they "hang out" that way all night long. See H. Rheingold's book, "Smart Mobs: The next Social Revolution" for some facsinating observations on this arena.

    It is changing it. It is changing how we interact with each other already. And, as I found out, digital photography in relation to the internet/email is only a very small part of the overall change that digital in relation to the internet is causing in the world. You are participating in one of those changes right now. Judging by some of the comments made to you by others here, I have strong doubts that in an analog world anybody would even spend the time answering you................yet, to type a few words on a keyboard and "submit" it to the digital internet, seems hardly an effort at all.......for some to respond to you.
     
  65. This is also not a discussion on how we interact with the image, it is, and was stated from the beginning of this thread, how the medium of presentation (and the process that leads up to that presentation) would change how we interact with each other. The focal point in this case IS the "interaction between people". So, please do not bring up that issue again.

    The original question........"An Art medium that has no physical form. How would that change how we interact with each other?"

    However, upon futher reflection, and other information I have been presented with during the course of this thread....I would be very willing to entertain a change in that original question to

    ....."An INFORMATION medium that has no physical form. How would that change how we interact with each other?" Although, that does now deter from the basic requirements of this forum, in that it remain Photographically oriented............so i leave that change up to the Moderators. But, I think most of the INFORMATION oriented discussions would still also apply to "image information/data"....the afore mentioned copyright considerations certainly still pertain to photography. The Rheingold book certainly could include the transmission of image info........as with the use of digital cams to feed to the handheld device an image to show the person at the other end where the person they were conversing with was at.......or even a pic of the person themselves (of course this could even be done with a cell phone.......cam phone), so the subject of digital photography could still be in there............albiet like i said previously, only a small part of the digital arena.
     
  66. Thomas wrote
    The original question........"An Art medium that has no physical form. How would that change how we interact with each other?"
    However, upon futher reflection, and other information I have been presented with during the course of this thread....I would be very willing to entertain a change in that original question to
    ....."An INFORMATION medium that has no physical form. How would that change how we interact with each other?"

    The short answer, "It doesn't change anything."
    First, the information medium, photography, does have form whether it's in analogue or digital form, there's no difference in the end so the premise of "no phisical form" is a false premise based upon a psuedo concept, "Nonsensical philosophy", of non existance.
    As to the interaction question, the interaction is the same. Hanging around a monitor as opposed to hanging around a slide projector/viewer screen as opposed to sending images through snail mail or e-mail are all the same; the formal transmission of imaging information based upon the capture of a measurable and quantifiable entity, analogue light waves.
    You're trying, in your thinking, to create a dimension that doesn't exist.
    I hope my above helps as I'm sure it's not the answer you were looking for.
     
  67. ..."time" exists...and our best physicists/mathmaticians consider it another dimension.

    non-physical form DOES NOT EQUAL non-existance

    and if you think it does...you should re-evaluate your theological beliefs.
     
  68. Well...

    Non-physical basically means, "relating to the mind or spirit." A thought might be considered "non-physical."

    Physical: Of or relating to matter and energy or the sciences dealing with them, especially physics.

    The thing is, digital files do take up space and a file's size is measurable. Why do larger hard drives cost more than smaller ones? It's like having a bigger fridge; you can put more in it.

    How has the Internet changed how people relate to each other? Perhaps that is a question that is truly immeasurable.
     
  69. Thomas wrote
    ..."time" exists...and our best physicists/mathmaticians consider it another dimension.
    Bad news for you sport but time doesn't exist. There's this thing called a continuum and then there's man's creation of a concept called time to quantify their existence within this continuum and the universe about them as they try to give definition to a circuit of the Earth's orbit around the Sun.
    Time clock
    non-physical form DOES NOT EQUAL non-existance
    And nobody ever said it did but images, even if sent via internet routers, has a physical form as light pulses traveling black fiber. It doesn't matter how an image is captured and finally rendered for personal viewing. A photographic image starts out analogue precapture and it finishes in an analogue viewing form as the eyes and brain are analogue devices. The digital part in the middle has no bearing on what we see before the shutter is tripped or how our brain perceives a replay of what was captured in the past; a photographic image. In the analogue end, on a digital monitor or a display device of your choosing, which is what our eyes sees, it's analogue in the beginning and it's analogue in the end.
    and if you think it does...you should re-evaluate your theological beliefs.
    Not quite sure of your above point but the physicality/form of an image or the non-existance or genesis of the concept of time doesn't challenge any of my theistic beliefs.
    Again, wishing you well in your quest for an acceptable answer.
     
  70. Is digital photography of this same nature? It takes all that "material" aspect of photography away. No film, no chemicals, no paper.........just machines that handle electrons. You NEVER ever have to have a digital picture in a physical form. EVER!!! You can, if you want to, but it can stay as electrons forever
    I don't think this is accurate. Tiny areas with a different charge on a hard drive or within computer memory are still quite physical. A primary difference between film and digital storage is how fixed or static the stable chemical film products are relative to the dynamic, easily-rewritten nature of charge states in an electronic device. Another key difference is that film media record the image in a way that can be interpreted directly by the human eye without the absolute need for a translation device to give it a recognizable form.
    Framing the issue as "physical" versus "non-physical" is misleading (as illustrated by the digressions into theology in this thread).
     
  71. Maybe it's best too keep it simple, not plain simple but zen like simple ( look, frame and gently press the button...hang it on the wall... ) and let the ones who we made the pictures for to look at break their minds in what it's all supposed to mean on a philosophy level.

    The artist who creates musn't be too much caught up in the act of creating cause deep inside, and if the inner need for expression is a strong and honest one, he or she should already know what it's supposed to be all about.So in almost like a paradox, the artist who is fully aware of his subjective need for expression and expresses it, must be almost objective or reserve a certain distance to the creationprocess in order not to loose himself/herself completely in it.It's like letting not too much static information in (the grand stuff that really matters is already their anyhow,inside...) in order to let great meaningfull expression come out.

    And then finally when the work is on the wall or in whatever form, it kinda doesn't belong anymore to the artist's soul beïng...it's in a public form now where anyone who cares watching can break their minds on what it's really about or not about, that's not the artists task...the artist just creates...

    Really, despite of the great artists myth of deep inner struggles in creating the art, I believe, what it finally all comes down to, is letting go in order to go with the flow...the flow of the mind that is and not analyzing stuff to a death ends road.

    Digital? Analog? What's that all about? Ain't no differences (of course there are but what I mean is : no differences under the skin of both... , in the end it's all universal and I, and I think everyone, want(s) to express in a universal state of beïng.The universe is complex but can be looked upon like beïng real simple in it's complexity so why not keep it that way? Of course that's easier said than done with so much static input going on these days...but hey, throwing away your 'television'(anthony kiedis,RHCP) is not that big a deal I guess in order to obtain freedom of noise in expressing real thoughts, not fabricated ones...
     
  72. So far as I can see, the only people who have added anything sensible to the discussion so far are Bernd and Kelly.

    My view is that there can be no such thing as an art form that has no physical form. An image is physical in that you see the reflected or refracted light waves. Any composition of sounds is physical because the only way to hear it is via sound waves. The storage medium is a red herring but will be physical in any case. Looked at with any degree of logic, the question is futile.
     
  73. Bernd--- you know what that was a quality response about the whole conciousness thing. Well put and I agree with you wholeheartedly.
    I wasn't trying to be a prick, I was just stating that it is mysterious...and I apologize that I used that tone in response to you. But you're right there is no definite answers to many things.
    It's probably a good thing that it remains unsolved in science because if it didn't next thing we know computers would be concious of themselves and what was going on and we'd really be screwed.

    Thomas gardner is involved we're in for a long ride! You have made some great points though I have to hand it to ya! I haven't been on photo.net real long but I know thomas has strong convictions and alot to say.... Thomas sullivan I think has made some great points as well I see where you're both coming from. Yes I think digital changes things, how profound the effect will be is yet to be seen. Oh and by the way trying to dictate the topics discussed and trying to direct people into sticking to the exact question posted in the philosophy forum is laughable and I think we all know that. In a sense it gets carried away and people go on tangents (probably like I'm doing now) but that's just the evolution of it all. Thoughts and opinions stemming off from one another. I love reading this and sucking up all this madness.. Whoever it was that predicted flat screens/LCD's being real cheap in the future and people hanging one on the wall as a still digital photo similar to the way we do prints now... WOW that blew my mind, I never thought of that. Come to think of it couldn't this be possible already? Does anyone own a flat screen by the way? When you're not watching TV isn't there some way to post a screensaver similar to a comp where you could put a still digital shot?
     
  74. The words of Walter Benjamin in his essay "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical
    Reproduction" were written at the dawn of the age of cinema, but they still have a lot of
    relevence today.

    In all the hoopla surrounding the digital photography revolution one thing keeps being
    overlooked-- digital photography in no way contributes to, changes or transforms the
    power of an image to carry content or meaning. The digital reproduction of images is
    simply a simulation of methods of creating images that existed before its invention. In that
    sense, digital photography is simulacra or imitation. A digital photograph is to
    photography what email is to writing or video is to film. It is a simulation of a preexisting
    art form.

    Other innovations such as the invention of the Leica have done more to transform
    photography than the digital camera. When the Leica made 35 mm compact shooting
    possible, a whole new vision of photography was born. What has digital photography given
    us so far? As far as the actual image is concerned (cost, convenience, accessibility aside)
    not much that didn't exist before. In addition, smaller image recording areas mean less
    space for the lens to "draw" the picture and lower quality images. It is also cheap to shoot,
    which makes for a higher volumes of images with less resistance to help increase the
    quality.

    In general I would say that the digital photography revolution has introduced a level of
    anarchy to the photo world that is good. It breaks apart some of the power structures that
    existed before. Through digital portfolios etc it is possible for photographers to reach out
    in ways that they never could before. But it has not yet ushered in a new art form. It is
    mostly a simulation of one that already exists.
     
  75. Harvey Platter:

    "My view is that there can be no such thing as an art form that has no physical form. An image is physical in that you see the reflected or refracted light waves. Any composition of sounds is physical because the only way to hear it is via sound waves. The storage medium is a red herring but will be physical in any case. Looked at with any degree of logic, the question is futile."


    I think Harvey gets right to the point of the physical existence question, and suggests another; Is art only art when it is communicated? If so, then art can be said to be composed of two parts: Creative, and communicative. The creative component is of the non-physical realm, but must be made physical in order to be communicated, or realized. So creativity/imagination/inspiration are potentially art. These potentialities can be expressed by any number of physical forms, which suggests that the potential is of a higher order than the actual, and the preference for medium is a preference of craft. Craft is utilitarian in nature, and may or may not have any relationship to art, and I suspect that the reasons that Jeff's kids prefer huddling around those monitor images has a lot more to do with utility than art. My kids make their own prints in our darkroom, and have a clear preference of craft. The images they email with their friends are utilitarian communications of limited value, and will never become heirlooms.
     
  76. In another 20-50 years as we look for images of our world we will discover many of them have disappeared. No more old shoeboxes found in the trunk, full of old B&W images from the past. Too many CD's & other non-viewable digital junk that will be unusable.

    Change our world? Yes, but not for the positive in many cases.
     
  77. I used to be considered a pretty good photographer, and an excellent printer. I capture and print digitally these days. I'm no longer considered a great printer. It's all about technogical changes, however you frame the rhetorical/semantical arguement. The guy who used to produce the best wagon wheel is obsolete, by the way.
     
  78. "I think Neil has a point - it's not just kids. I only print things now that will go up on a wall or get sent to someone, otherwise, it's straight to the digital file. There's no need to print things that won't get shown as a print because I can look at them on the screen. Before digital technology, I could only look at and show prints."

    yes, but this is not any different than all the negatives and tiny images on my contact prints that have never been made into a real presentable prints because I did not feel they were good enough. There is no difference to me in the end, except that with digital those "unprinted" images are now on a tiny screen as opposed to a contact sheet or in my book of negs.

    So far, I think the book analogy does hold true. I can't hang a bunch of monitors on my wall for instance (not yet anyway); I think people prefer tactile things. And though you can pass around a tiny digital screen to someone, it's not the same as being able to pass a bigger print (no matter what, tiny small monitors will never have the same impact or impression on the viewer as a bigger print-in this instance size does matter). Maybe someday we'll have bigger 8X10, 11X14, 20X24 monitors to hang on our walls and pass around to each other and be able to look at and ponder on...but until then, I think we will continue to print out our more valued digital images.
     
  79. Jeff's son is one example... my sons (aged 2.5 and 5ish) regularly get photo albums off the bookcase shelves and browse thru them. They also come into the darkroom and 'help' (who needs automated print agitation devices when they have unpaid helpers but they are a bit unreliable arounf the enlather timer buttons!) Occasionly they look at pics on the screen (theres a new digigizmo in the house).
     

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