Monday, September 24, 2012

On Not Taking a Picture

I have 11,269 images posted to flickr. Think about that for a moment. Do I really need to take another photograph? Of course events will occur that I think should be documented, but all around me everyone is doing the same thing, not participating but recording. It's a different eye and state of mind.
Yesterday, I went to The Folsom Street Fair without any electronics -- no phone and no camera, which is increasingly the same device -- on purpose. I know if I want Hits on my Blog or attract Attention on FB, the easiest thing to do is post an outrageous public act at a kink fest. But I make a choice in that moment to be outside the event looking in rather than of it and in it. I am disembodied by technology in the hopes that I'll remember it better later if I take a shot of it now. The opposing choice is to be in my body in the crowd with everyone looking out and around, participating in a primary act instead of a secondary one.
When I take time to make art en plein air, I look intensely and for a long period of time, sometimes over days, but certainly over hours. My bodily reaction to what happens and what I see is the art piece itself drawn by my hand through my mind's eye. It is a third act of creation -- not the thing itself and not a machine's record of it but my emotional response to a set of events occurring over time seen through my eye. It is manufactured with elemental but inert (that is, not electronic) tools held in my hand; a marriage of an idea transmitted nervously from my mind and the outlines, colors, mass, and fact of what is before me, what enactment occurs and what frame I impose on it. It is not 'true' in an exact, technological way but is nevertheless 'true to life' as i live it. No one else can create it, although anyone is capable of doing it, of making a picture rather than taking one, if that is what spurs a memory.
I fear increasingly losing other points of view and modes of enactment by choosing always to mediate the world through technology alone. I should take time to make time, to do something rather than relentlessly shooting at things and people at each turn. It's a better way to be in a place I wish to actually experience, be that Folsom Street Fair or a room in my home.

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