I’m finally upgrading my life.
I’m going to put my address book into a digital format, mostly because it’s easy to access from anywhere I might be in the world. But this access and convenience comes with a price.
I love the tangible nature of physical things. As I picked up my Cat Woman address book this morning, a speckled woodpecker feather fell out of it. And I stood there and smiled and thought about my friend Wakkadup from Tulalip who gave me that feather. My computer will never be able to do that.
As I streamline, I realize more and more that I really like life’s messy little edges. Computers and digital media are helpful, but these things don’t satisfy all the way down to a soulful level. I’ll most likely never completely ditch my purple well-loved address book.
I was telling a friend just yesterday, that with the digital age of photos also comes a price. What happens when the technology switches and people have to purchase the latest/greatest just in order to view their pictures? And I had a conversation with a photographer friend of mine several months back that went something like this.
Me: Yeah, just how long do giclee prints last anyway? They certainly aren’t archival. Or rather, no one knows how long the inks really last.
My friend: Well, honestly the thing only needs to last about a hundred years. No one will care after that.
I disagree. To a certain point that is. A carefully crafted photograph will always be interesting, possibly even more so in a hundred years. No one will care about a large percentage consumer photos of the average family BBQ in a hundred years. He’s correct about that.
I feel like humanity has a lot of problems in general – including conservation of ourselves and the planet. I foresee a someday when we won’t be able to view the digital media that we are collecting right now and that this will leave a large gap in photo history. But that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. Besides, we as a people might have much bigger things to worry about by that time.
Touching again upon the subject of conservation – people say that digital is cleaner and better for the environment. I will acknowledge that photographic chemicals and processes are poison, but products like computers and inks are far from benign to our natural world. Factories create endless waste and utilize much in the way of resources to manufacture our clean, snappy digital tools.
So, I’m beginning to utilize the tools of the digital age, but as I do so, I have decided not to rely on those digital tools completely, nor make the mistake of believing that they come without flaws. The inherent sexiness of a negative or an address book is something I will continue to enjoy in my life.