"I wish that more people felt that photography was an adventure the same as life itself and felt that their individual feelings were worth expressing. To me, that makes photography more exciting."
-- Harry Callahan
This Christmas I received a new pen. This pen has something different: a camera and 4Gb flash storage. Have we move into a post-photographic age? I think that we have moved into a hyper-photographic age. There is that Kickstarter project for a wearable camera that makes a snapshot every 30 seconds. Record the moments of your life! For no really good reason. Upload them for all to see! For no really good reason. Because you have a gadget, and it goes blink blink blink.
Is life an adventure because your moments are recorded with a camera? I could wander around for 90 minutes at a time, recording 640x480 at 15fps. Oh, my, I walked down to the store, bought some stuff, and walked back. Did I express myself by recording every movement? I read a book. Oooh, how operatic! Or maybe not.
Hanna Arendt used the phrase, "banality of evil," in her thesis, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. Here I have the banality of every day life. I don't think that life is dramatized simply because it is photographed. It simply is. Yeah, sure, there may be dramatic moments in life. Perhaps there may be an interesting vignette. But 24/7, on the average, life is not a major drama.
So anything other than the banal has to be carefully collected. Sure, I can make a snapshot with the pen whenever I feel like it. But just because I clicked the pen doesn't mean that the moment is special. I have to make the determination to curate the present. I must always figure out which little moment, which scene, is actually special and worth saving. Perhaps saving it for someone else, or just for me.
So, no, we don't live in anything like a post-photographic age. We now live in an age where photography has moved into an even faster speed. How many images are shared on a daily basis? Through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, whatever. And there are new services every month. More ideas on how to connect people in a manner that they want to be connected.
Information as banal as walking down the street.
Welcome to the banality of the present.