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I'm increasingly sure that digital photography makes better snappers of all of us. Freed from the tyranny of development costs, of new film, of good physical storage, even of the limitation of 36 exposures, it's easier to be relaxed about the actual gritty business of photographing - the choice of what to include and exclude. Compositions become something we can play with at the moment of creation, whereas with the old medium of film, the photograph is fixed before you ever get as far as developing the film (never mind bunging it in the developer and fixer).

"I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking. Recording the man shaving at the window opposite and the woman in the kimono washing her hair. Some day, all this will have to be developed, carefully printed, fixed." (Goodbye to Berlin, Christopher Isherwood, 1939*)

I should perhaps admit at this point to being one of the three siblings who did practical arts at some stage and therefore have the smell of fixer as a strong sense memory (even thinking about it makes my nose tingle). One sibling got a first in photography, in fact, whilst I gave up on practical art in favour of criticism precisely because I could never quite capture things in the traditional 2D and 3D media. Going through the digital photos I took for thisisalsoexeter, with my arts critic glasses on, I am struck by the fact almost every single composition is better than anything I have ever achieved in film. I look at the one of the phoenix and see how the tree with just a few yellow leaves echoes the decay on the golden sculpture and I can't quite believe that I've managed to create an image with meaning when all my previous photography has been...highly disappointing to my inner art critic.

At some point I am going to have to give the camera back to C.

yes, I did quote this in History 101. It's a good quote...

Posted @ 10:38 pm on Monday, February 09, 2004
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