Sunday, March 02, 2008

Get Over It, Or Future Art Historians Will Mock You

Sure, the Dulcimer, Clavichord, Virginal, Spinet and Harpsichord were all very good. They had individual properties that probably quite a few people "mourned" when the Pianoforte became the dominant instrument of the time. Luckily, no one blogged that keening wail, and in the long view we look at the evolution of instruments as one of the things driving the advancement of music: the piano offered more for a musician, so it won out and allowed the development of new art.

Here's my prediction: the photo historians of future centuries will look at the development of the digital camera as the real beginning of photography, with pre-digital photographs in a section of the textbook titled "proto-photography." In advanced classes they'll point out that most areas of photographic practice were developed in this period, but the limitations of film and the economics of the process held the field back in many ways. It will be seen as drawing before the invention of the pencil.

Still, as a sentimental and short-sighted lot, there's no end to the weeping from artists and photographers over the demise of Polaroid. While I tend to see it as a necessary evolutionary step, there are hundreds of bloggers writing about "what we've lost."

Artist Stefanie Schneider And The End Of Polaroid Film
Kimberly Brooks: How are you mourning the news that Polaroid is discontinuing your medium?

Stefanie Schneider: It's an era ending again. No more family pictures developing in front of the children's eyes. A piece of beauty disappearing....a piece of culture. Polaroid material has the most beautiful quality -- the colors on one side, but then the magic moment in witnessing the image to appear. The time stands still and the act of watching the image develop can be shared with the people around you. In the fast world of today it's nice to slow down for a moment. At the same time Polaroid slows time, it also captures a moment which becomes the past so instantly that the decay of time is even more apparent-- it gives the image a certain sentimentality or melancholy. Because of that intensity of the moment it seems to change the interaction of the next moment. The Polaroid moment is one of a kind, an original every time.
Strangely, the article is not written on a typewriter.

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