Exploring the parameters of low res digital cameras

A focus of my research has been to look at how people use media technologies
for the purpose of memory making and remembrance. In particular I am interested
in how imaging technologies shape our understanding of memory practices, as well
as our recall of people, places and  events.

As smartphones continue to dominant the landscape in many so called advanced
economies, we see images being used for a wide variety of purposes. Image making
is arguably as much about participating in a collective sharing of cultural
capital (digital images of our participation in mass culture) across the web,
as it is about the act of capturing a moment for the purpose of remembrance.

We use cameraphones to take images of our favourite meals, billboards, book covers
and almost anything we might feel could add value to our lives. The image is arguably
the primary concern here, whereas the process (or act) of capturing seems to be a
forgotten zone, a non-place that exists somewhere between the gaze and the captured
image which stares back at us from within the tiny screen of the digital camera.
In many cases digital photos never leave their pixilated state, they exist in dedicated
online photo applications such as Flickr, or just get pushed towards the bottom of
the pile in a cameraphone gallery until they are eventually replaced by another
more meaningful or highly prized moment.

Unlike traditional film-based photography, where photographs graduated from
film to photographic artifact, digital images exist as code on an electronic device
that requires electrical charge to bring the image to life. Like Frankenstein’s
monster, they are born at the flick of a switch and we are perhaps seduced as much
by the science of this technology as we are by the resulting image.

So with so many of our memories, if that is indeed what we are capturing, what
does the future hold for our digital remembrances of the past as technologies
continue to evolve and mutate? How will technological changes shape our relationship
with our memories and our understanding of self? One need only look at the use of
photoshop in glossy magazines to see how easily digital pixels can be massaged and
blended to create new realities that bare little resemblance to the original image.

Now many people use photoshop to enhance their own amateur image making
practices, a double chin erased here, an enlargement or reduction there. It may be
the case that many people are thinking ahead to how they would like to be remembered
rather than accept the judgement of the camera. I think its fair to say that the days of
accepting what the camera saw as evidence are now long gone, but even conventional
photographic images have always been prone to interventions and disruptions which
promote questions about their authenticity, so it’s not truth I’m looking for here.
Rather, it’s why we continue to engage in the practice of image making and the role
that images continue to play as communication tools, mnemonic drivers and
sites of remembrance.

I have been working with an old low-res digital still camera lately, it’s a
Sony FD Mavica (Model MVC-FD75) manufactured in the late 1990’s. Images are
stored onto a floppy disk, which then need to transferred to a computer using
a disc drive which was difficult to source due to it’s perceived obsolescence.
This got me thinking about heritage media such as film cameras, slides and
projectors. Are these items obsolete, or do they offer us opportunities to
interrogate forms of creative practice in ways that acknowledge and
combine the language of the old with the new?


~ by Dean on October 28, 2012.

One Response to “Exploring the parameters of low res digital cameras”

  1. Hey! Someone in my Myspace group shared this site with us so I came to check it out.
    I’m definitely loving the information. I’m bookmarking and will be tweeting
    this to my followers! Terrific blog and amazing style and design.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: