Thursday, November 15, 2007

Cinematic Photography...

Not too long ago photography was a medium geared to the mechanics of the eye. Today, in the world of photoshop, HDR tone mapping, and panoramic imaging, photography has become a medium that speaks directly to the brain. Traditionalists bemoan this kind of talk, but I champion the move into this new territory. OK, I fear the schlocky onslaught of bad experimentation and album cover art that this new photo technology invites, but if I may, I think the creation of technology that speaks directly to our consciousness (rather than our senses) is a key part of our mission here on Earth.

Anyone who's taken a picture knows that the above image is impossible to take. Either the windows and the light cascading in would be way overexposed or the columns and other areas in shadow would be completely dark. Lights might help but then you would have dueling light temperatures and a messy image. The above "photo" is in fact a computer manufactured composite that blends light conditions from anywhere from three to eight separate photographs. Even though our eyes would not process light this way, our brains immediately get it.

Photography is evolving to connect with our cinematic imaginations. We are coming closer to understanding our place in the world through the tropes of storytelling and visual narrative. Our enhanced visions of the world around us carry more psychic weight than those that reflect "reality" unadorned.

To simplify: One day we will catch a reflection of ourselves in this multi-techno-mirror we are constructing around ourselves and the eureka bell will sound - "Wow!" we will say, "Are we ugly and screwed up or what?!" And right there in that moment, for many, all the wasted energy, the Narcissism and self importance, will be on full nauseating display, and in that moment there will be a chance for something new and better to emerge for our species. Will we take that chance? I think so, though I'm willing to hear the naysayers out.

More on HDR here and here.

("photo" by Uwe Steinmueller)


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