I’ve never taken a selfie. In fact I never take photos at all. I’m a writer, and there are rules about those things. I did take a selfie once, though, accidentally. But that was before selfies had been invented and I just deleted it. Had I known Facebook would also be invented I would have saved it, along with the cat pictures I took and would never admit I took. Those were deleted too. The fun thing about digital photography is the delete button.
I accidentally took a shoefie once, but shoefies still haven’t been invented so I deleted that one too. I once took an analog shoefie, however, and still have that one. There was no delete button then. All you could do was throw out the picture when you got it back from the Fotomat. But it was such a nice picture of a shoe I kept it. I’d put that uninvented shoefie right here, but it’s tucked away somewhere with a zillion other pictures of my past life and I don’t feel like looking for it right now. I’d see all that hair and I’d sigh and get all morbid and pensive. Nothing worse than a big guy gone pensive.
Like I said, I never take selfies. Look what happens.
Facebook has ruined writing. You can write all you want on Facebook and there’s no need whatsoever to do so with any grace or talent or even basic writing chops. You’re not supposed to show any chops, actually. It was designed as a purely egalitarian medium. Nothing pretty. Very little even signficant. I know a lot of fine writers and their Facebook posts are just as dull and artless as any twelve year old’s. It is wholly functional. Two dimensional. If people talked as dull as they post you would find them so annoying you’d duck out of the way when you saw them coming. Facebook reduces everyone to the dullest person you know. It is artless, faceless, characterless and not very funny. Emotions are worn on sleeves. Facebook is like instant messaging that everyone at work can read. Safe, dull, and designed not to hurt anyone’s feelings. No juicy gossip, no hidden secrets, no sex. Continue reading →
I love this shot. Phone cameras have rendered photography so artless (the way blogging has sucked the art out of writing) that when I see a well rendered shot I’m taken aback. I think the ease of the technology is the problem…it’s so quick, and so cheap, no one hesitates even a second to consider if something is worth photographing, or even to set it up right. Why bother? You can take a zillion shots and some are bound to be OK. OK…that’s the standard for photography now. It looks OK. And the technology is so piss poor, I am constantly amazed at how even the most lovely women are rendered plain by the phone camera..facial features flattened, shading lost, lighting a glare. And the most lovely scenes look like rejected stills on the cutting room floor.
As for blogs. Everybody blogs. Everybody. The first thing that pops into someone heads is poured into a blog and posted. There are no second drafts, and the concept of an editor is perfectly medieval.
Digital technology has made everything possible, alas it has made everything possible.
(After posting this essay I found out the photographer goes by the splendid name of El Imagenero. You can find much more of his work on his sites here and here, not to mention on Flikr and Instagram. Well worth a long luxuriant look or two.)
“It’s All About the Music”, photo by El Imagenero, taken at the Typhoon Restaurant this past summer (2012). He used a Nikon. That is the brilliant saxophonist Benn Clatworthy in the background with Aguabella Nuestra Era. In the foreground are charts (well, copies of the charts) from the late great Francisco Aguabella’s own book.