July 15, 2013

You Can't Hold an Instagram


Earlier this year, helping my parents pack up to move from their home of over forty years, I came across a box of photographs.

"That's history," said Mom.

In the future, we will not stumble upon boxes of photographs.  Instead, we will pray that our current digital media will be viewable.

Reach Out and Touch Something
A few weeks ago, I came across a trove of my Polaroid images from the late 1970s.

Pacific Coast

Heading East

Coney Island in Winter



Story




Yes, there is the Polamatic App that allows you to add the distinctive Polaroid frame to your cell phone images.  Call me old school, call me what you want, but craft is disappearing from the photographic landscape.  Digital apps with a touch of a button recreate something that you used to have to do with your hands based on learned knowledge.

Does choosing an Instagram filter constitute making art?

Before I become too smugly self-righteous, I must divulge that I use Topaz Adjust, a Photoshop plug-in, to pull the detail out of the in-camera multiple exposures I create with my Nikon D200.

Is it Art in 2013?  Was it Art in 1826?
In late May I posted the above image on Facebook and stated:  "I am excited to report that after nearly 200 years of photographic technological innovation, I created an in-camera multiple exposure that for me evokes "The First Photograph" created in 1826 by French scientist Joseph Nicéphore Niépce.


Nonotuck Mill in Florence, MA
Delighting in today's early morning sun, I pondered these questions while photographing one of my favorite metaphorical subjects:  former manufacturing mills repurposed for contemporary uses. 

I love to shoot digital.  These Reality-Based Abstractions that I create would not exist without the technological advances related to digital photography.  In contrast, however, I have written previously On the Sensuous Experience of Using a Film Camera.

Below is a telegram from 1902 on display at the Vintage Radio and Communications Museum of Connecticut.  The terse message:  "Come home immediately  Mother."  Imagine receiving such a message and then taking a train from Chicago to New York to find out why.

From Telegrams to Instagrams

A hundred years from now, will it be possible to view today's Instagrams in a museum?

Time to start printing!

I invite you to visit Create Look Enjoy on Facebook.

Thank you for your interest - John

©2013 John Nordell

4 comments :

Marianne said...

SO true regarding Instagram BUT you could put all those IG photos and all your other favorite photos in books! It's something I've been working on for some time. I don't want to leave behind only hard drives full of photos which will rarely (if ever) get looked at.

John Nordell said...

Excellent points Marianne! I have an illustrated copy of Thoreau's Walden printed in the late 1890s. The photographs still look fabulous.

Greg said...

Another important thing that gets overlooked, whether print or digital, is identifying who/what/when/where in your picture! I tried diligently to write on the back of my prints dates and IDs. There's more discipline involved with digital, I've discovered.

John Nordell said...

Ouch. Thanks for the reminder! Keywording is a chore I tend to put off...