Monday, September 14, 2009

Sorry I couldn't handwrite this post

"I couldn't pull a Migration Assistant without bringing over all my bad settings along for the ride, so it turned into a Windows-like upgrade. First, none of my external hard drives existed anymore. I had to grab a new driver for my eSata card. I reinstalled all my apps from disks and download backups, and pulled over data from the Tiger backup disk, which is where I started running into more problems. I couldn't import a bunch of mailboxes, and lots of folders came over with no RW permissions and the dreaded red no-go icon. When I tried to set up a Final Cut scratch disk, I found that half my disk drives had errant permissions."
— from a recent post on Doug Plummer's photoblog Dispatches

Doug's blog occasionally ventures into geek-speak, but this seems like a particularly acute case. Is this what writing and thinking about photography has come to? In many cases I think the answer is yes. My guess is that many photographers spend countless hours on a computer mastering an ever evolving set of digital skills, or else spending money on constantly revised software. To be a working pro you need to. But the skillset seems to be spinning further and further from photography's essential activity which is simply seeing. All those hours of keystrokes and mouseclicks used to be spent photographing.

I am thinking about this as I begin my second week gradually re-adjusting to computer life. While in Maine I went for about three weeks without posting and without reading any other photo blogs. I checked in briefly for essential email but that was about it. I shot film and collected the exposed rolls in a ziplock. In some ways film is a hassle (try asking airport security to handcheck 40 rolls) but at least it liberates a person from looking at screens.

Reminder: Poltergeist was meant to be a scary movie,
not a societal proscription

But alas, now I'm back and the computer has crept steadily into my routine. It's like a vicious drug. You barely notice you're using until suddenly it's come to dominate your free hours. You check all the photoblogs, you post your own, you shoot various messages here and there. In the most extreme cases, you can't photograph without it.

With that in mind my new resolution is to slow this blog down a bit. Instead of posting nearly every day I plan to spread out and take my time. Write fewer, longer posts. Spend my precious free hours pressing on a shutter instead of a keyboard. That's the plan anyway. We'll see if it sticks.

1 comment:

dougplummer said...

My God, you're right. That's a pretty terrible case of entanglement you've highlighted for me. Thanks, though, for the mention.