Ode to a Camera

Camera sketch

Today I pause to consider my camera. It is old (ancient in technological time at 10 years old ), cracked, chipped, and worn but still functioning. My foray into cyberspace would not be possible without it. This technology allows me the freedom to reproduce any image that I create effectively and inexpensively. Only 20 years ago before the advent of digital photography this was not economically possible for the average artist. For those artists old enough to remember having to deal with slide photography this technology is a blessing.

On the other hand, I fear that this technology may make me an anachronism. That glowing screen image is so seductive, so portable, and so ubiquitous. Will it replace the physical painted image that has been with us since man was cognizant? I know that I feel differently standing in front of a Rembrant painting that he touched and made his mark on than seeing an image in a book or on a screen.

Painting survived the invention of the camera obscura in the 5th century BCE and lenses in the 15th century. Also the invention of the film camera pushed painting in new directions with modernism, but I sense that this time it is different. The virtual world is an alternate reality, not necessarily an extension of actual reality.

How many of you are content viewing digital images of my artwork on this blog and my web sight  and will never consider actually having one in your living space? Is this like downloading music for free? Should we consider a pay per view “Iview” model? How will the visual artists survive this tech revolution?

Perhaps I am an anachronism already.

4 thoughts on “Ode to a Camera

  1. Whine And Cheers For Wine 10/09/2012 / 9:13 am

    It’s interesting to think about art in the realm of iTunes and the issues that it brought up with songwriters, singers and even copywriters in what feels like just a few years ago. Now many artists prefer to give away their music via free downloads as a promotional tool realizing that their main income will come from touring or selling the music for commercial use.
    This also reminds me of the issue artists have had to deal with involving the resale of their art whether the artist was living or deceased. For example a painting sold for $2,000 and then a few years later it being resold for $20,000. The artist does not get to experience in the valuation of his art directly but in a way in some examples the artist if still living can apply their “raised value” to new or not yet sold pieces of work.
    I too am always in awe of true original art when in its presence compared to a photo or reproduction etc. I believe it would be possible for an iView or iArt form of business to develop. In fact I am aware of artists who market their art in DVD or VHS form as a form of art itself, not just as a sales tool. Would you consider producing a digital collection of a series and marketing it this way?
    Thanks for speaking your mind on this topic.

  2. Roger 10/12/2012 / 7:17 pm

    I guess the problem that I have in marketing via DVD is the same reason that I shy away from prints of my work. I feel that it is too removed from the actual creative process. As you put it ” in awe of true original art when it its presence”. Another way to put it is that the Spirit is not in a reproduction.
    I have seen business models trying to start up on Kickstarter that involve selling digital images on subscription for viewing on flat screen tv’s (how many of them have you seen over fireplaces?) in rotation like a slide show. Also interactive in the sense that you could pull up biographical other info about the artwork on the screen. It is something to watch and see if it develops.
    Perhaps the anachronistic part is valueing original work over digital images.

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