photo courtesy Beth Chucker
Cameras are everywhere.
But what happens when everything actually, is a camera?
The phone in your pocket comes with a camera built into it, the building you live in and the stoplight on the corner are rigged with them and every computer screen has one pointed back at you. We expect it and our acclimation to surveillance is complete.
A parallel thought, these tools through which we navigate the world, are putting us under a constant pressure to make the world a picture of itself. It often feels as if every extension of ones own body ends with a camera. Using a camera to investigate the world is valuable because it pauses time, allowing a moment to be reflected upon with a perspective that only photography allows. But the distancing nature of photography, whereby the subject of a photo becomes an object, an “other” to be looked at from privileged vantage, has a negative effect of allowing people to disassociate from the conditions which allowed the image to be created and feel less empathetically towards its subjects. It also creates an illusion that the act of photographing is more a function of the tool than a behavior of the individual who possesses the tool. The feeling of being removed from authorial ownership of the digital photograph, allows responsibility to be displaced yet another degree further.