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CalArts 99

"I'm so over digital"

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U will return when u can`t buy or process film .

 

No rule says you have to be wasteful of exposures with digi

 

I will not trust scanning to someone else

Edited by tobey bilek

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I'm not convinced. This is just photography as lifestyle trend -- and lifestyle and culture journos make their living and their reputation spotting and hyping trends.... Who cares?

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I don't know why this always must turn into a digital versus film dialogue. It gets juvenile. I use both film and digital. I think a lot of people do. Two different mediums is all it really is.

 

But that's not the point. I thought the article was interesting especially in light of the fact that those individuals have grown up on digital and find film to be a curiosity that allows for a tangible product instead of x number of forgotten images posted on a social media site.

 

And that's what the article was actually about. The plethora of imagery and with the 'march of technology' that recalls a 'yearning for a lost physicality.'

 

"Digital technology gave us photography without limits. But suddenly, we're seeing the virtue of limits. Photo booth photos are on a human scale. They take place in real time in a private space we chose to occupy. And everyone in a photo booth picture is your real friend."

 

It's not just about digital photography. It's also about the 'missed' connections that modern life can often bring upon us in our daily lives as we forget to 'smell the roses.' (There are actually real roses out there besides just images of them.

)

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I don't know why this always must turn into a digital versus film dialogue. It gets juvenile. I use both film and digital. I think a lot of people do. Two different mediums is all it really is.

 

+1

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I don't think CalArts99 is himself saying "I'm so over digital", and I don't think he's suggesting we're all about to start walking around with photobooths instead of our precious digital cameras, so relax.

Pete

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Vintage photo booths make a comeback in urban hipster bars Comeback of photo booths exposes yearning for authenticity - latimes.com

 

We've been doing them--digitally--at weddings for years. They look vintage, and that's what counts. It's such an old fad already

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I don't think CalArts99 is himself saying "I'm so over digital", and I don't think he's suggesting we're all about to start walking around with photobooths instead of our precious digital cameras, so relax.

Pete

 

Thank you.

 

"I'm so over digital" was a quote from the article. It came from a woman who was interviewed. I'm not over digital and never will be. But I might be over most of the hundreds of thousands of images that get posted everyday on the interwebs.

 

And that's really the point here. It's not about us but about the new generation of image makers who do not make prints. Images are constantly posted on websites (btw, some people here are notorious for doing so, too) and viewed with various devices (phones, notebooks, etc..) There is no actual tangible object to touch and hold.

 

Does this matter? I don't know. But it's certainly an interesting phenomenon. I was a friend of the late Jim Marshall and I have a box full of his earlier prints and also some of his later iconic ones which he signed. When I take them out and look at them, I'm actually touching something that he made. It reminds me of him and reminds me of those days. It's very different than looking at images of his on the web, there's a physicality that's missing when viewed on a screen.

 

And that's the point of the article. It's not about "being over digital" but about the separation of something physical. And the intimacy that a real object can evoke. A real, tangible object that is physically produced.

 

And I'm actually being quite literal about "smelling the roses." Images are made daily of things that we rarely connect with or even touch. And does that matter? I don't know, but it does raise an entirely different question about the desire to document everything that we experience. The experience itself may be diminished or even lost entirely while we stumble around trying to get the image (fwiw, I never take a camera when traveling or hiking, etc.. I'm more interested in the real time experience than having a document of it. But that's just me.)

 

And Jamie, the article is not about a fad or whether it matters if it's a digital or analog product. It's about the loss of a type of authenticity and physicality that is missing among a new generation. It's hard to put oneself in this position, but it's what is happening to many of those now growing up in the new digital age of "mechanical reproduction" (to paraphrase Walter Benjamin.) And I find it an interesting issue.

 

That's all.

Edited by CalArts 99
spelling

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{snipped}

 

And Jamie, the article is not about a fad or whether it matters if it's a digital or analog product. It's about the loss of a type of authenticity and physicality that is missing among a new generation. It's hard to put oneself in this position, but it's what is happening to many of those now growing up in the new digital age of "mechanical reproduction" (to paraphrase Walter Benjamin.) And I find it an interesting issue.

 

That's all.

 

I disagree: it is a fad, and an old one to boot. The article is about it *as* an emerging fad (or it wouldn't have mentioned "hipsters") for people seeking "the lost authenticity of film"--by which they actually mean a print.

 

But the article is IMO quite wrong on both counts. As I glibly pointed out, "vintage weddings" are all the rage right now and photobooths are cliche already in that arena. Why? Because many weddings are fueled by what's really driving this... Not a quest for the authentic in the sense that Benjamin or Hegel would recognize, but by a post-modern substitute for that: nostalgia. And nostalgia as a general, and ironic thing: it's not a nostalgia for an experience ever even lived! Note, too, the clothes in the picture in the article. See what I mean?

 

That's why Instagram is so "hip" IMO. Yes, prints have a physical reality that is compelling, and a too-electronic age will rediscover the joys of print one day--I do believe that. And your actually touching important images or being in their physical presence, is, to me as far removed from the fad as is common graffiti from something in MOMA. It's not about authenticity as much as importance, to me, honestly.

 

But with this fad, you can't just create a print--you have to create an ersatz crummy print with an aged or distressed look. Or, indeed, a crummy film look, with a crummy one-shot flash, with your "real" friend (in distinction from your FB friend, though heaven knows my FB friends are mostly my "real" friends).

 

Note that none of this doesn't invalidate a film aesthetic by any means whatsoever. Nor do I think nostalgia is a bad thing, necessarily.

 

But to suggest, even tongue in cheek, that a photo booth represents a more authentic picture-making process than a cell phone pic is well, both facile and missing the cultural mark. Maybe the journalist *is* just another girl with Tumblr account and a camera phone.

 

Still, I like the quote from the marketing researcher

It's funny because it's false.

 

Fascinating stuff though: on that we agree.

Edited by Jamie Roberts

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Jamie, I'm not sure that you actually read my last post (?)

 

Anyway, I read the newspaper article differently (and way beyond the surface.) I tend to not always read things so literally.

 

And the article is not a right or wrong article, so there is no 'wrong' (or 'right') to it. In addition, it was a newspaper article and not an academic journal article. So it was clearly written to be digestible and nothing else. But it goes much beyond a photo booth. Or at the very least it suggests issues that go way beyond a photo booth.

 

It isn't about the photo booth per se, nor is it about nostalgia. Nor is it about Instagram or hipsters nor a "film aesthetic." And this isn't about technique nor making something look nostalgic. It's not about "aged" or"distressed" images, either.

 

Yes, it's an article about the the photo booth but the photo booth is only a representation of a desire to be connected to a physicality of some sort. The loss of physicality or 'authenticity' is not only about a photographic image. And it's not about a loss of nostalgia (which as you mention can be ironic in itself.) It is much broader than 'nostalgia.' Although nostalgia itself can be an avenue for a perceived authenticity.

 

If one takes the article literally, then I certainly agree that it's about the photo booth as a fad for hipsters. But if you go beyond that and leave out fads and hipsters and nostalgia and the photo booth itself, then you come to the issue of the DESIRE for a physicality and a perceived 'authenticity.' And that's what this brings up (at least in my feeble mind.)

 

The last book that the late Roland Barthes wrote was called Camera Lucida. After decades of deconstructing the image and looking at photographs in purely semiotic manner (i.e, from an academic distance), he finally wrote about the 'existential' side of the photographic image. He had found a photograph of his mother tucked away in a drawer just after she had passed away. The actual physicality of the photograph and the desire for the object itself was the thesis in Camera Lucida (and not simply as an image that can be read and deconstructed.)

 

For me, this newspaper article actually had nothing to do with "a photo booth represent[ing] a more authentic picture-making process than a cell phone pic." But if you read it purely literally, then yes. But this isn't really about the process itself, but about the physical experience. When I look at Jim's photos and touch them, it's the physical experience that is affecting me. It's the physicality of the experience that I'd be missing otherwise. And for me, this raises much, much bigger questions.

 

Using the concept of a photo booth that produces a physical object versus ephemeral zeros and ones that need to be translated by an electronic device first before the brain/eye can understand it, is to me a metaphorical approach to those bigger questions. We can't deny that the digital phenomenon (whether it's a digital photo posted on Flickr or reading an e-book on Kindle or typing out an email) is certainly unique (yes, content may remain but the actual physical experience is radically different.) And there is the fact that an entire generation has grown up with this phenomenon. And as I said earlier, does this matter? I don't know. But it is interesting (to me.)

 

And again, I simply read the article way beyond the surface (like I do with images themselves.) I somewhat doubt this was the author's actual intent, but it certainly raised these questions in my mind. I had hoped it would have raised them for others here, too.

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by your argument then the issue is not digital vs film but having a physical photograph in your hand vs viewing it electronically. having and holding the photo, it isn't "i'm so over digital" its "i am so over viewing pictures on a screen (camera, phone, pc, etc)". let's then get away from the film digital argument, i shoot both and enjoy both differently and my joy with the M4 probably has more to do with rekindling my own nostalgia for a purely mechanical process in taking picture, the argument (discussion) should be centered on whether we should print more (for a few extra dollars you get 20 more wallet photos with your order!) in snap shot size vs poster size and bring those along to show people our latest vacation rather than using an iPad. interesting thought, wonder what others think.

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{snipped}

Using the concept of a photo booth that produces a physical object versus ephemeral zeros and ones that need to be translated by an electronic device first before the brain/eye can understand it, is to me a metaphorical approach to those bigger questions. We can't deny that the digital phenomenon (whether it's a digital photo posted on Flickr or reading an e-book on Kindle or typing out an email) is certainly unique (yes, content may remain but the actual physical experience is radically different.) And there is the fact that an entire generation has grown up with this phenomenon. And as I said earlier, does this matter? I don't know. But it is interesting (to me.)

 

And again, I simply read the article way beyond the surface (like I do with images themselves.) I somewhat doubt this was the author's actual intent, but it certainly raised these questions in my mind. I had hoped it would have raised them for others here, too.

 

Hey--of course I read your post--more than once too. And the article, come to that. If I'm not mistaken, you're the one that brought up Benjamin and the authenticity of experience

 

And the article does imply that authenticity, but they didn't name the engine for the feeling: nostalgia and the loss it implies as the root. Or the myth (not just "metaphor") of the photobooth that substitutes a single image for authenticity through nostalgia (and, as I said, a weird nostalgia that produces a weird aesthetic at that). So I stand by my interpretation, and it's not literal-minded either: it's also way beyond the surface of the text, even if it is grounded in that surface (the "first-order" text, to use Barthes' own terminology).

 

What I see in the article is a very odd self-reflection phenomena that is relevant to understanding why the article (and the sentiment expressed, and I use the word "sentiment" carefully), is off the mark (and maybe it's not wrong in describing an emerging fad--maybe I'm ahead of the game due to the wedding thing. But I doubt it).

 

Oh and by the way, I also agreed with you on the import of physicality, if you want to call it that, and especially of prints. That is perhaps the only actual "loss" in the whole process outlined in the article and in your discussion of it.

 

But, without putting too much weight on it, the article isn't "about" that particular loss of printing except peripherally: instead it's about the how the "fad" shows a turning away from what the kids these days call "meta:" friends who aren't "real" friends, pictures that aren't "real" pictures, journalists who aren't "real" journalists, processes ("digital snapshots") that aren't "real" processes (I hesitate to call it "film' but let's call it "the snapshot").

 

Are these metaphors? To me, the answer is no; they're preconditions for more smoke and mirrors. Because to my view we are talking about mythic losses--losses mostly never experienced--postulated against a false history--to make nostalgia work (and believe me--that sells a lot of stuff).

 

So the article is about a crummy snapshot: look at the picture. Look at the clothes they're wearing. You don't think Hipstamatic and Instagram play into the same "threads" and mythic patterns here?

 

We all know that "digital" doesn't actually preclude prints--even exceptionally fine prints--and the photobooth itself could (obviously) be a digital one! Where would the "I'm so over digital" phrase be then?

 

Right where Barthes would put it: in the realm of the "mythic."

 

Anyway, to agree with you once again on your main point, many people will, over time, rediscover the importance of a physical print--the one you're talking about in your posts. (and I think I also said that...)

 

It's got nothing whatsoever to do with digital or film. Historically, I've known plenty of people with boxes and boxes of slides and nothing but a small viewer to look at them (they're mostly all dead now, and I've gotten a lot of those boxes one way or another).

 

How "ephemeral" was that?

Edited by Jamie Roberts

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Perhaps the attraction is the physicality of the booth, the door that shuts one away for a moment to be recalled from the other side, the photograph as a touchstone.

 

Doors and lost memory.

.

 

Now that--"I'm so over doorways" / "I'm so into doorways"--would be a very cool thread indeed!

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Anyway, to agree with you once again on your main point, many people will, over time, rediscover the importance of a physical print--the one you're talking about in your posts. (and I think I also said that...)

 

It's got nothing whatsoever to do with digital or film. Historically, I've known plenty of people with boxes and boxes of slides and nothing but a small viewer to look at them (they're mostly all dead now, and I've gotten a lot of those boxes one way or another).

 

How "ephemeral" was that?

 

The whole point of the thread was to instigate thinking about 'the loss of a physicality' and in the context of the photograph on a forum such as this one. And the photograph itself is simply an example of a much broader societal question. By using a quote directly from the article "I'm over digital" it was clearly attention getting. I said nothing in the body of the post but "vintage photo booths make a comeback in urban hipster bars" and simply linked the article. In hindsight, I should have more explicit instead of just tossing it down on the table.

 

I had assumed it would bring forth a conversation about the idea of "loss of physicality' and if indeed it is something we want to be concerned about or not (whether it's about hand writing a letter or sending an email, etc..) And yes, those slides you mentioned are physical objects whether viewed or not. They have a material history attached to them in their very presence of taking up physical space. And in an analog form that the mind instantly recognizes (and without a computer) despite that one may need a viewer to enlarge them for a closer inspection. And they will remain in their physical state even after tossed into the landfill. Their use may have been ephemeral, but they are only ephemeral until they physically disintegrate.

 

Benjamin was talking about mechanical reproduction long before digital and his concern of 'authenticity' was not about the physicality of the object, but about authorship ('aura' as he liked to call it.) i.e, through reproduction the context changes and something is taken from the original. Which is why I mentioned him and paraphrased him. And of course, John Berger made this more palatable to modern audiences when he argued that images have become ephemeral and ubiquitous and that their 'value' changed as a result. And this was before images were a series of ones and zeros without a physicality to them (unless eventually printed.) The only physicality is the device used for viewing them. And even though mechanical reproduction has always been a major characteristic of analog photography, the concept now goes that much further with digital.

 

It had nothing to do with digital versus film. Nor about digital and film. But the photograph itself is such a prime candidate to use (which is why it has received such attention historically.) For me the article brought up the bigger issues of the idea of authenticity (a la Benjamin), the loss of physicality, and whether it all even actually matters anyway.

 

But as Sblitz posted below, there is something about that 'physicality' that plays itself out when he uses his older and fully mechanical M4. And attached to that is a kind of 'nostalgia' (whether we try to deny it or not and whether it's 'real' or not, it still enters into the equation.) It's also a kind of 'authenticity' that a functional mechanical device that is such an anachronism may suggest to some people. And which Leica seems to understand to this day, hence the M9.

 

by your argument then the issue is not digital vs film but having a physical photograph in your hand vs viewing it electronically. having and holding the photo, it isn't "i'm so over digital" its "i am so over viewing pictures on a screen (camera, phone, pc, etc)". let's then get away from the film digital argument, i shoot both and enjoy both differently and my joy with the M4 probably has more to do with rekindling my own nostalgia for a purely mechanical process in taking picture, the argument (discussion) should be centered on whether we should print more (for a few extra dollars you get 20 more wallet photos with your order!) in snap shot size vs poster size and bring those along to show people our latest vacation rather than using an iPad. interesting thought, wonder what others think.

 

That's correct, and this has nothing to do with digital versus film, but about the differences they might have in the context of an absence of physicality (and under a premise that a majority of digital users no longer print out their images.) And as I had mentioned much earlier on, it was unfortunate that some responses were the cliched film versus digital diatribe. That was probably more my fault for using an attention getting title for the thread.

 

Yes, I read the article to be not about "I'm so over digital" but instead about 'I'm so not over this loss of something physical', and of particular physical experiences (like smelling the roses rather than just taking pictures of them.)

 

I personally like the intimacy that occurs when someone takes out from their wallet a worn photo of their child. Holding their iPad and looking at the same image is a different experience to me. It feels more detached despite the same content. Maybe that's just a romanticism or a 'nostalgia.' But nonetheless I cannot deny that feeling and I'm not so sure that I should try to deny it. In addition to that, the physicality of the venue has always been an important part of an exhibition decision for artists (in the way the venue interacts with the images themselves and affects the viewer's interpretation and interaction with those images. And much of that is based on the perceived notions that humans have, including nostalgia.)

 

And that's what I read from the article. I bypassed the hipster part, the "crummy Instagram photo" part, the hipster clothing part, and the language "I'm so over ___" fill in the blank part. What I saw was the issue of the absence of the physicality of the object and the experience of physicality (stepping into a phone booth is indeed not passive act.) And that made me thing of photography, the act of photographing, the desire of photographing what we see and experience in the world, and the physical presence of the photograph itself.

Edited by CalArts 99
typos

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Right where Barthes would put it: in the realm of the "mythic."

 

 

btw, just an aside: Barthes was certainly notorious for his post structuralist attempts to deconstructed everything, even everyday objects (e.g., in his collections of essays, Mythologies.) He was quite lucid about the system of social values and their myth creation in society, and very adept at reading images in respect to their semiotic meaning.

 

But I found it interesting that he did somewhat of a reversal when he penned Camera Lucida. This time it wasn't a deconstruction of the image but an acknowledgement of those very mythic properties of nostalgia, authenticity, physicality, and desire. And how specific photographs can operate outside those social values and become very personal and within a context of nostalgia; i.e., a sentimental association with a specific past and/or a desire for something aside from the present.

 

Granted it was the content of a personal photograph of his mother that got him thinking that way, but he then went on to interpret other photographs in the same light. Nostalgia is an emotion and whether one has never participated in a particular place or time or even if it's a false history, it can still conjure up something personal that rings authentic to that individual. And if that particular kind of authenticity is no longer attainable, then those aren't about mythic losses, but genuine losses.

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