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Monday, 14-Jul-2003 00:00
"Baby" Pictures.
There is a theory that says, "At its root photoblogging is about sharing baby pictures." Where does this theory come from? I don't know. How do we know about this theory? Because I am articulating it as you read this text. I didn't invent this....but I do want to make (some perhaps obvious) connections for you.

Let's imagine you are in a far away land, and you fall in love...with a place....with a person....and you want to show all your best friends back at home. Let's also imagine you are a very social person and you want to make even more friends. You want to say "Look! Look!" Or in Japanese, maybe "Mite! Mite! (Me-tay! Me-tay! " ) "Isn't this wonderful! Isn't she, or he, or it amazing?" " Or maybe, at least noteworthy?" And you are so overjoyed by (or possibly even peeved and critical of) your loved one that you share it with a bunch of strangers. Believe me, it can happen.

If you are reading this, it may already have happened to you. Face it, we may be strangers, but at this point, if you have already read this far....well we have been intimate. Maybe this is just because you fell in love with your camera...or with the internet, or Fotopages in particular. What you love, what you desire, what you want to share and remember is your "baby" as far as I am concerned.Why do we even take photos? I can't be sure but I think basically we want to keep memories alive...to pass them on...and maybe bring about some change or understanding into the world by doing so.

I used to be peeved by the overwhelming presence of the word "baby" in English/American (and actually also non-English speaking) popular music (especially R&B.)I didn't feel represented. I never called my girlfriend "baby". Actually, to be honest, I still don't call my girlfriend "baby". But maybe it's time to cut that music some slack. Now as I am in a very different environment I have been re-evaluating my language. And hey, I am in love.....I can give those singers some breaks.....and the term is helping me make a point.Pop songs, and the term "baby" are part of our consciousness. They are engineered to be that way. Somehow, we are supposed to identify with the singer. They are taking something that is supposedly intimate and making it public domain. "That's our song!" "Oh, baby!" SMOOCH. Intimate things shared publicly....that's popular culture....and at this point the phenomenon of photoblogging is both a content and a form or medium of that popular culture.

Now of course my definition of "baby pictures" does not exclude pictures of infant children. Actually, I think that is a big part of the engine driving the photoblogging phenomenon.But I also subscribe to the "primitive" belief system known as Animism.Animism is the belief that everything, and I will include "ideas" in that everything, in the Universe has a life/soul/ or energy. Our "baby" could be anything or anyone. one of my friends in America had a piece of junk car that kept breaking down. She kept fixing it, and would never think about replacing it. She said "It's my baby...."

I think all art, and most of our important communication, is a love song, or loveletter, or intimate game....maybe an inside joke that expands into social areas. I like to imagine that early Twentieth Century American Folk singers provided both that kind of intimacy, as well as a kind of unofficial, and all the more so important, alternative news source. And this goes back to the Dawn of time. This is what is going on in the neighboring, town, city, cave, country, or military zone. Feminists of the 1970s had a great catch phrase/slogan "The personal is political."

"Let me tell you about my baby."
I want you to consider that what you choose to show us at Fotopages, or what you choose to view,or comment on, has far reaching effects and implications. This isn't to make every little thing seem "deep" or "heavy"...I just want you to see how things connect.

In a recent newspaper interview Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami sidestepped easy, cliched questions about world politics. Imaginatively, instead of breaking things into Conservative/Liberal, Capitalist/Anti-Capitalist etc, he contends that "Open" (as in open minded, open to communication, and connection. Some people may say scattered or
unfocused) and "Closed" (as in focused and directed . Some people may view this as narrow minded tunnel vision style.) systems are the two main oppositions in the world today. Of course, he goes on to state, neither camp or style is ever practiced in pure form. We just have tendencies. Now, I tend towards Open systems as far as I can tell. I hope that my upcoming series of editorials/observations will push that forward. This, by the way is my first article for an ongoing series for Fotopages. The series will be
called "Open System" and I am eager for you to share ideas and feedback.


Justin Lincoln


Two short Post Scripts.

1. Sorry if my style veers off to a completely different subject as I am writing. That might be the weak point of "Open System" style. You get distracted. You make connections that no one else seems to see. Sci Fi writer William Gibson refers to this as Apophenia, or maybe it is Apophrenia (I should go back and check) in his latest novel Pattern Recognition. It is referred to as a psychological disorder....(to see connections where they are not "really" connected.) I like to think that it is a good imaginative skill or tool instead. and I think surfing the web can cultivate that skill.

2. Send me your "baby" pictures....or better yet, post them at Fotopages.

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