It’s been a big month for messing with computers, and writing about computers. I’m anxious to get back to photography, and I promise to do so in my next post, but today I’d like to ramble on a little bit about the relationship of a photographer to technology.
Photography has always been a technologically intensive endeavour. In the early days of photography, the practitioner needed to be somewhat of a chemist. As the tools evolved and became commercialized, more of the technology got moved behind the curtain a la “you push the button and we do the rest”. Still, many serious photographers delighted in arcane developer formulations and the like. When computer science shoved chemistry aside as the driving technology behind mainstream photography, photographers, like it or not, became computer technicians. There’s a fascination to that for some. I plead guilty; as a computer technologist and a photographer, I find pleasure in both.
However, much of the time I just want to get the work done, and all the arcane computer minutia just gets in the way. Those without a computer technology bent must spend a lot of time in this place.
Take comfort. This, too, will pass. Eventually the computer technology necessary to do photography will be tamed in much the same manner as George Eastman did when he hid the chemistry. Photographers who want to get their hands dirty with technology will be able to do so, but those who just want to make images will be able to buy a box (or, more likely, boxes) that does just that.