Real photographs, real film, mechanical camera thingy. Ay? Why?
OK, I’ve been thinking about this: it seems there are at least three things going on here. Three scams. Three cons. Three lies.
There’s the illusion of choice, there’s “democratisation” and there’s the delusion of perfectibility.
Consumer capitalism is predicated on the pivot of choice: you CAN buy this (can’t you? — look at this ad, this promo, this review) … or not. If you don’t buy; that’s your choice. Whether you can actually afford it is neither relevant nor irrelevant it is simply not acknowledged, accepted or even recognised … no other alternative exists.
So — I cannot afford a better camera but I can afford A camera and a lot of people can’t. End of.
To make images as memorable, meaningful and powerful; as engaging, exciting and charming; as art-historically engaged, culturally hip and politically pointed; as nuanced, as subtle and as emotionally engaged, as THEY do, all you need to do is: be true to yourself and buy our best kit.
You must not listen to the old fogies who tell you that there are technical camera skills you need to acquire, art history you need to study, people skills you need to hone and a socio-environmental-political stance you need to at least start to define. Not to mention the practice you need to put in, practice and show and listen (and sometimes reject or ignore what they say) and then listen again and do it again and loop round and round and round and so on and on and so on.
And who is this self we are supposed to be true to — do you know? I don’t. And I really don’t care.
But we can do this shit without buying anything at all. Bastards we are and we can learn and get better.
And sometimes just take a picture with a “different” camera in exactly the same way way we might with our bloody phone.
Then there is the perfect prime: the lens that can …
The perfect camera that could … or at least a better one …
There is always the plastic surgery that might …
The mind-fullness that … the wellness … the fitness … the will … ah, the will. The will to get x, to take y, to claim my birthright as a Randian Übermensch … or to just be a slave to a system that drip feeds us answers and solutions to our dreams and fears and cravings … or is it Soma.
When you send a film away, as we always used to, unlike the professional who always kept control, other people make all the decisions that are left and they don’t edit, they don’t choose but do choose how to print, how to maximise the information, how to present the “idea” — we’re left with a fait accompli — and does that leave us any less autonomous, empowered or embodied? Like we’re caring about this?
They are so focused on the con and the take and the rewards that they don’t have the time to worry about this shit, never mind the consequences. Would you, would I?
So we can say no.
We will use the tools we have at our disposal. And we will learn their limitations and their joys. This camera was really quite good when I was a kid and it still is. Ansel Adams couldn’t dream of … oh yes he could … and digital is just beginning to … and is this really what matters when we start to contextualise with Instagram and Flickr and Facebook and whatever … Whatever. If you speak with an accent is what you say any less valid?
Oh, and there’s something else too, alluded to in the way I scanned the photographs: they’re things, in the world, in our world, touchy feely lovely things we can hold in our hands, interrogate and, if we want: put on the wall — they are ours.
And we will tell our friends and our families our own stories.
And we will tell you to fuck off.