This past October, just before the leaves changed, I went on a six-day hike through the mountains of Wakayama, in central Japan, tracing the path of an ancient imperial pilgrimage called the Kumano Kodo. I took along a powerful camera, believing, as I always have, that it would be an indispensable creative tool. But I returned with the unshakeable feeling that I’m done with cameras, and that most of us are, if we weren’t already.
In the same way that the transition from film to digital is now taken for granted, the shift from cameras to networked devices with lenses should be obvious. While we’ve long obsessed over the size of the film and image sensors, today we mainly view photos on networked screens—often tiny ones, regardless of how the image was captured—and networked photography provides access to forms of data that go beyond pixels. This information, like location, weather, or even radiation levels, can transform an otherwise innocuous photo of an empty field near Fukushima into an entirely different object. If you begin considering emerging self-metrics that measure, for example, your routes through cities, fitness level, social status, and state of mind (think Foursquare, Nike+, Facebook, and Twitter), you realize that there is a compelling universe of information waiting to be pinned to the back of each image. Once you start thinking of a photograph in those holistic terms, the data quality of stand-alone cameras, no matter how vast their bounty of pixels, seems strangely impoverished. They no longer capture the whole picture.
Réflexion intéressante d’un photographe amateur. L’adage dit que le meilleur appareil photo est celui que l’on a sur soi, mais peut-être que ça ne suffit
pas plus. Et s´il fallait désormais compléter la phrase avec “le meilleur appareil photo est celui qui est connecté au reste du monde”. Nos smartphones deviennent alors la parfaite synthèse de ce que Craig appelle des networked lenses.