Wednesday, 24 February 2010

The Cutting Edge

Technology is a wonderful thing, I have always thought so, but it does not always need to be new. I was amused to see on the side of a roll of cling film that it had cutting edge technology, here though they meant that they had applied technology to the business of attaching a cutting edge to the box. My lovely and accomplished wife (pictured here, photographed with a Holga 120), who is an artist, working in linocut and woodblock printing has an entirely different take of 'cutting edge' technology that mainly revolves around beautifully made, razor sharp steel cutting tools.

I started thinking about this though because it seems to me that we are constantly told that things are better because of technology and often this is true, however sometimes technology merely makes things easier and easier does not necessarily equate to better.

I could pick up a modern camera and pretty much guarantee that I would be able to get sharp and correctly exposed images with a fairly accurate colour balance. What I might find harder would be to make the images reflect my own personality. Shooting without the technology is more challenging but the effort you put in is repaid because the pictures reflect what you have had to do.

I'm not a technophobe though; I just like to be involved with the process. I find that much of the technology we are presented with removes our involvement because it does the 'work' for us. We should think about the motives of high-tech companies and see who really benefits from their 'cutting edge technology' because I don't necessarily think it is the aesthetic quality of the pictures.

Just to prove that I do use technology, this picture was taken with an iPhone, I love my iPhone, I use it as a weather-man, as a web browser, for e-mail, as a spirit level, a calendar, a notebook and a sat-nav, an address book, an alarm clock, a store for music and photos, and a currency converter. I have even been known to use it as a telephone! Having a camera in your pocket all the time though is one of the most interesting things about modern mobile phones. I don't think that for the majority of people is is an alternative to a camera, certainly not me, because the 'phone is with you when you would probably not have taken a camera. What it enables though is that when you see something you are not necessarily kicking yourself for not having taken a camera with you that day.

This picture is invisible to the human eye, I knew it was there - through experience - but the eye sees both the foreground, the rainy window - and the background traffic, quite distinctly. Neither does the eye register the movement, generated by the joggling of the bus. I am delighted with this picture because it celebrates photography - it could have been taken digitally or analogue but it could not be anything other than a photograph.

What I am really saying here is that photography is not as dependent on technology half as much as it depends on the ability of the photographer to see. The cutting edge in photography is in the photographer.

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