Elogio del libro de papel reflexiona sobre la función de los formatos en la transmisión de los textos. Las palabras posadas en las diversas superficies -libro, revista, periódico, grafitis, publicidad...- reciben de estos formatos un valor que no es despreciable. La igualación de todos los formatos en internet debe contrapesarse con el mantenimiento de las formas reales. La ciencia pertenece a los libros. Leer es ascender al monte de la abstracción desde el valle de la imagen.
Imagen: Vladimir Pustovit, CC


domingo, 31 de enero de 2016

Make More Atoms, Fewer Bits

Berkeley, 2016 #cindyproject #ricohgr
Berkeley, 2016 #cindyproject #ricohgr

Dear friend,
I’ve been thinking a lot of “physicality” in photography— how physical objects bring us a lot more happiness and joy than the invisible, intangible, and digital.

We don’t value the non-physical

I’ve been studying a lot of physics (for fun)— partly because I am an Elon Musk fanboy, but I also love how I can combine different fields of knowledge to create new ideas.

Seneca first touched upon this in his book, “On the Shortness of Life” — he says how men don’t value time, and think it is insignificant, simply because it is intangible.
The same is with photography— we don’t value anything that is intangible. We don’t value photos on social media or Instagram, because they don’t “exist” in the real world. They don’t have dimensionality, they don’t have weight, they don’t have thickness, nor do they have texture.

The joy of physical things

I just got a bunch of photos printed on a textured paper. It is beautiful. You can look at the prints at different angles of light, and see how the ink shimmers off the paper. Not only that, but there is a great pleasure in holding the print, feeling the texture of the prints, and having the ability to frame it on your wall.
I don’t think you can get the same joy from seeing a photo from a 4 inch screen on Instagram.
There is a huge resurgence of physical objects in our world, drowning in digital bits.
For example, apparently sales of e-books on Kindle are slowing down— because people are starting to realize that they appreciate physical books over incorporeal (not composed of matter; having no material existence) books. People have the pleasure of holding a book, feeling the weight, the texture of the paper, turning physical pages, and not having to deal with the pain in the ass of having to “sync” their progress pages read, the pleasure of writing physically in the book (and revisiting those notes later), rather than recording “digital thoughts” and “digital highlights.”
I’ve been engrossed in reading physical books again, and the joy of the smell of the paper, and also secondary uses of the books— like holding up my monitor at a higher angle. I also like the idea how when I’m done with a book, I can physically close it (with a great sense of accomplishment), and put it back on the bookshelf. Or even better— to have a physical library that I can walk into, and browse and peruse the books. I can also enjoy the different dimensions of the books, the different print quality, the texture of the covers, everything else that I can feel in a physical sense.

The downsides of digital bits

The sad thing with digital photography is that there is a lot fewer sensory pleasures. No longer do we hold film, load film into the camera, feel the haptic response of advancing the film, the joy of finishing a roll of film, getting back 4×6 prints from the lab, and putting these physical prints into photo albums.
With digital, it is too detached physically. We hold a physical digital camera, but every photo we take is converted into bits, downloaded into our computers, and then uploaded to the cloud or on social media pages. After that, they puff away into digital oblivion and dust.

Make prints

I am personally focusing on shooting digital (Ricoh GR II), and have been having a ton of funmaking new Lightroom presets to simulate the look of film.
I find the problem even when I shoot film is this— I get the film processed, scanned, and then I have the digital JPEG files on my computer. But then they die on my computer. They don’t get printed.
So the solution is this— it doesn’t matter whether your photos or shot on digital or film,what matters is whether you print them or not. They can be printed into a book, printed as prints— they just need to exist as “atoms” not “bits.”

Share the joy

Honestly really it doesn’t even matter whether you print your photos or not. I think what matters is the “social” aspect of photography— being able to share the joy of the photos with others.
So perhaps the joy can be sending the photos you take of your loved ones via some sort of messenger app— directly to them.
People still get a lot of joy of photos on Facebook, Instagram, and any other social media.
However I just encourage you to make more atoms out of your photos. Trust me, they will be a lot more durable and your future generations of children can enjoy your photos.
I was in Korea last year and visited my Grandma, and we looked through old photo albums of when she was a child. I can’t imagine sitting down with my future grandchildren and showing them photos of my childhood on a smartphone or some digital device.

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