I watched at SXSW as people quickly shot images (mostly groups and selfies) and then manically rushed to upload them to internet sharing sites. The two processes, shooting and sharing, have become so intertwined now that the relative importance or the priority of the two processes seems muddled. The operator's brains rush from one intuitive process, the making of images, to a totally different and more menial mental process (the halting gyrations of the upload interface) which represents an opposite cognitive task. In a sense the brain is stopping and starting and changing direction to complete the combined operation. Each task adds its own "friction of trade" and has its own inertia.
Watching this made me long for the days before interconnectivity. In the days (both digital and filmic) before the ability and pressure to endlessly share evolved one could spend a full day, or at least a few wonderful hours, continually immersed in one task. Taking photographs. No abrupt task changes. No changing over to the logical opex mind. No submerging of creativity in deference to delivery logistics.
While it may not have generated any greater number of wonderful images I would imagine the more continuous and uninterrupted practice of taking photographs and separating delivery from the process would be more calm, restful and emotionally beneficial. Perhaps, as the shooting/sharing process becomes more and more endemic I could create a profitable workshop that has nothing to do with aesthetics and everything to do with separating these conjoined and mismatched twins and freeing up the harried, modern photographers from their own, self-imposed timing tyranny...
Either that are I can continue shooting and sharing old school with big gaps in between.
I think it is cynical and mean to include wi-fi in a camera. Yes, I know, you love to send images of the kids at Disney World to grandmother back home as soon as you shoot them. I am equally sure that your mother is wise enough to wait until it's pleasant and convenient to open and view the images.
I pondered this because recently a client asked me to shoot an event and IMMEDIATELY send them as many images as possible. I spent the event shooting with the delivery pressing on my mind. Should I shoot the images as medium sized jpegs to speed up the process? Should I shoot less to speed up the editing? Should I take fewer risks with the images since I would have precious little time to post process? In the end I did all those things. I felt the pressure of the deadline encroach on the shooting.
I delivered by six a.m. (my deadline) but the time stamp on the shared folder informed me that my client didn't access the folder until nearly 2 in the afternoon. Could I have produced better work if the intention of delivery was separated from the shooting?
I did it because it was business and business is sometimes fraught with compromise. But as an amateur shooter or avid hobbyist why would I put my creativity (and mental wellbeing) under that kind of stress if it's not really necessary?
Immediate sharing requires a shifted focus and a bifurcated attention. Is it really worth it?
I'd say no.
(The image above was taken two weeks before being developed, a month before being printed and was only widely shared twenty years after its creation. I'm glad I was able to savor the shooting experience).