Friday, January 30, 2009
the squirrel ...click click, dull elves
This morning I go out with my camera and point it here and there, almost at random. Click, click click, I go without much thought or care. Digital ital equipment still make me uneasy. Not that I am ungrateful for the benefits it brings. But brought up in an age of parsimony, when you counted each exposure on your camera and the cost of developing and printing your compositions, I still can't get used to the size of the digital resource and the freedom to shoot and discard with what would then have seemed shocking profligacy. Click, click, click, we go, and minutes later there, on the screen is the result of our art. Masses if it. Art? Well, art and much luck. The art I suppose comes in cropping and tweaking afterwards. Free services like Picassa make it easy, and then there is all that capacity for back up. Hundreds of photographs stored on a memory stick or a DVD, though future generations will take it for granted, still seems an amazing achievement to me, and one, which makes me feel, in an irrational way, somehow greedy and extravagant.
On receiving one of the first printed copies of Pride and Prejudice from her London publisher, Jane Austen wrote to her sister Casandra, on 29 January 1813: "There are a few typical errors; and a "said he" or "said she" would make the dialogue more clear. but I do not write for such dull elves as have not a great deal of ingenuity themselves."
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I concur with your commentary on the digital age and photography. I even seem to take series of about 20 to 30 snaps and then download them and then format the card. And yet the luxury of being able to crop and edit has changed photography in a way beyond imagining. I love your squirrel photos.
Indeed, though I am rather aware of the profligacy with time involved in taking too many images, and folders and folders of photos are still clutter in some wise... but no, it's a wonderful, liberating thing, and I never would have come to photography without it.
Despite my faint misgivings, I agree with both of you. I wouldn't be taking photographs without digital assistance.
It's OK when Jane Austen uses that as an explanation. But one worries about lesser writers picking up and using such a cast-iron umbrella.
It could be an excuse for lazy writing, you're right. And nowadays when atention spans are limited and dull elves prolific, writers can't be too careful.
The use of the phrase "typical errors" is, by the way,an interesting example of how language evolves, isn't it?
I had a film camera for twenty years, got out of it a handful of decent photos. Never really learned what I was doing, because I never had the money to experiment, no chance of darkroom time. With digital, I can play with it, get instant feedback, erase, try again.
Film is no doubt wonderful for the wealthy and the pros, but for the rest of us, digital is a more usable tool.
Much the same as my preferences with pottery, loved throwing and trimming, didn't care about the glazing, since the firing was done by the pottery owner after a long delay.
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