Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Regarding the cellular capture of everyday life

Over the regionally rainy weekend just past, The New York Times ran a sadly brief study of the sillycam's invasion of art exhibitions, more or less coinciding with the confidance here, of loving one's camera for precisely the opposite reasons. The distinction supporting these alternate views is that the one addresses the assimilation of artistic works, and the other of everyday life. I took special interest in the Times' mention of framing with the viewfinderless sillycam, which merited very much more consideration, and which readers are likely to give it. This distinction is also vital to our argument for the camera.

For the purpose of this note in The Times, framing amounts to an editing for the purpose of acquisition, a plucking of the morsel from its habitat. Sontag wrote about this, in On Photography, before the sillycam. But framing is a compositional as well as a limiting mechanism, and here you see a photographic framing of a framing, for expressive and defining consequence. We are aware of framing as one of propaganda's most indispensable tools; but it is truer to regard propaganda as a sub-set of framing, and not always with malice toward understanding. I undertook to enhance understanding by editing the first image with a frame. The second image uses internal frames to compose itself, and is narrative.

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