Tel-us SiriWednesday, December 14, 2011
It was not too long; it seems that I physically through my very good extra large fax machine out my living room in frustrated anger. Since then all my cameras have been rendered obsolete and my students, not suspecting I still shoot Ektrachrome and Ilford FP-4, cannot believe it when I tell them that the only digital device in my possession is a very good scanner and my iPhone 3G. The latter I love and I love the low tech look of its pictures which cannot match that of a halfway decent digital point and shoot. Buying such a device would render my enjoyment of the 3G as pointless and stupid. So I stick to my film guns and instruct my students on how best to use that wonderful good camera feature which is custom white balance. These students of mine are able to display the exquisite unearthly colour of a readhead’s skin without affecting the redness of their hair. These students of mine can simultaneously switch from daylight, to tungsten to a custom white balance while shooting in a studio with flash. I am jealous of their ability but still appreciate the constraints (a favourite word of my friend George Bowering) that film imposes on my shooting style.
We are already in a state of affairs where the difference between a computer monitor and TV set has blurred and soon the difference will disappear completely.
iPhone 4S’s Siri will eventually become a reality with all our computers. Much like in the original Star Treck, will tell my computer (shall I call her Estella?), “Go to Photoshop 15 and remove all the blemishes on my granddaughter’s skin. Please lighten her eyes and blur out the background more.” Better still a Telus Siri will render my terrible Telus remote obsolete and I will ask,” Tel-us Siri what’s showing at TCM?” A mellow voice will answer.
It was a few days ago, December 6 to be exact that the NY Times had a very special Tuesday Science Times dedicated to the theme: The Future of Computing.
I have never been quite tempted to read novelist Neal Stephenson but I read an interesting interview made by John Schwarz. When asked about the future of computing one of his answers intrigued me:
What I am kind of hoping is that this is just kind of a pause, while we assimilate this gigantic new thing, ubiquitous computing, and the Internet. And that at some point we’ll turn around and say, “Well that was interesting – we have a whole new set of tools and capabilities that we didn’t have before the whole computer/Internet thing came along.”
And then there is the amazing clincher:
He said people should say,” Now let’s get back to work doing interesting and useful things.”
That clincher left me thinking in amazement of how well put it is in its simplicity.
Two years ago I left my studio. Today I passed by the building on Robson and Granville. It is all boarded up for a soon demolition. The agony I felt two years ago is but a memory and I have adjusted to not having a studio. I use my living room/studio quite well with the added advantage that I can serve my subjects good tea in the dining room!
Up until now I have been securing monthly work that pays to the minimum that I must make to keep our bank account more or less balanced. What I must do is to take more pictures. I can no longer generate ideas that I can sell to magazines and newspapers of old. They have either disappeared or they simply do not listen to my voice of perceived obsolescence. It is frustrating but I must simply do more personal projects just to prove to myself that I am still as good if not better than I was when the impetuousness of youth made me brag that I was the best!
Meanwhile I hope that Stephenson is right and we will soon be able to work on useful and interesting things.