|Sunday, 16-Nov-2003 00:00
I have been out of University for a little over a year now. I miss the camaraderie, debate, critique, and constant exchange of informed opinions. I was nostalgic for it even before I left. Since I want to keep learning I started looking for tailor-made instruction online and intensified that search while I have been in Japan. You can see some of those resources in Desiring Machine's sidelog ( http://bug.fotopages.com )
One of my favorite teachers in this virtual faculty is Mr. Steven Shaviro. His Mainpage is http://www.shaviro.com. He happens to be an English Professor at the University of Washington (Seattle) and has written books on film, popular and Postmodern and recently "Cyber" culture. His book Doom Patrols is available in its entirety online and is linked to his Homepage. He recently published a report /criticism on Moblogging at Artforum that I found quite thought provoking. http://www.artforum.com/inprint/id=5497
Steven also has a Photoblog at http://www.fotolog.net/shaviro/
Steven was kind enough to agree to a brief online questionnaire/interview which follows:
1. " Why and/or how did you first get involved in internet culture, and more specifically....in Photoblogging?"
I've been involved in Net culture for a long time; I first used email in 1986, and I was heavily involved in LambdaMOO and other online communities in the early-to-mid-90s. I've also had a homepage on the web for years; I've used it mostly to 'publish' my own writing, and give people access to it for free (my book DOOM PATROLS, published in 1997, has been online since before print publication). I started to read various blogs a few years ago, and I started my own something like a year and a half ago. I only started photoblogging more recently, when I bought a new digital camera (a Casio Exilim) that was so lightweight and small that I could easily take it with me everywhere. Probably the next phone I get will have a camera in it, and then I will be able to moblog directly, instead of having to transfer the photos from the camera to my laptop, and from the laptop to the Web. In general, I am fascinated by the new forms of communication and connection that the Net and its associated technologies provide. I'm also fascinated by the way that our culture is suffused with images: media images, of course, but also, increasingly, personal images, snapshots, records of everyday
activities -- images that are at once relatively permanent, and yet essentially evanescent.
2. " What recent/historical precedents do you consider important in consideration of Photoblogging? (One of the more interesting historical analogies I've heard is "A Cabinet of Curiosities" which I think I first saw in a Julian Dribbel article.) I can't imagine that the medium is an entirely new breed of animal. How does Photoblogging differ from those other models?"
One can look at the whole history of photography. When photography was invented, people didn't quite know how to deal with it. Was it art, or just a mechanical process? Indeed, there is art photography, but there are also snapshots, which are immediate and personal, rather than claiming aesthetic qualities. There is also a debate about: do photographs reproduce reality, since the camera just registers light that enters the lens? Or are photographs really subjective constructions of/by the photographer? With digital photography, there are additional questions having to do with how easy it is to manipulate and edit the image. Photoblogging and moblogging reopen these old questions, but put them in a new light.
3. "What interests you in a Photoblog?...in a written Blog....a photo?....a cultural artifact?"
Something that makes me think or feel. Something that makes me look at the world, or a part of it, in a new light. Something that I have never thought of before, or that I have never felt before. Invention and innovation occur in strange ways, and usually unexpectedly.
4. "Have you noticed any trends or new developments in the Photoblogging phenomena? Any theories about what the near future holds?"
Presumably, trends will continue: cameras and cameraphones will get better in quality, and also get smaller, more compact, more portable. But in general, I think it is foolish to try to predict the future, even the near future. Something always happens that you hadn't thought of, hadn't even conceived.
Thank you very much for your thoughts and time,