A new project has begun for me while I am away. I always have a few small projects on the go, some take days, some take months, some take years. I feel the need to be constantly giving myself little projects to push myself creatively. At times they will turn into bigger projects, but when that happens all the little ones tend to take a backseat. The marathon shoot was a big project (both in prep and in shooting) and while I was working on that I did little to no other project shooting. I like the way projects focus my eyes on certain aspects of world around me, I see things that I may not normally see relating to the subject matter. It’s like when you buy a type a car, or shoes, or anything really, and once you’ve bought it you start to notice it all around you. It isn’t because all these items didn’t exist around you before, it’s just that you notice them more now that you’ve put your focus into it. While waiting in the airport for a flight I noticed all the people reading books & newspapers as well as writing in notebooks and that is where this new project has begun.
This project focuses on the people who may have embraced the digital world but still choose to do some things the “analog” way. While away I have really been shocked by the amount people over-using digital technology, in-particular; smart phones. Don’t get me wrong I am a offspring of the digital age. I love my laptop, iPhone, digital camera, and in-essence all things digital. But at the same time I still openly embrace things from the analog world (I still shoot quite a bit of film as an example). Try to explain to a teenager the benefit of listening to a vinyl record, reading a printed book, or even printing photos, and they will make you feel as old as a dinosaur. Don’t worry this isn’t going to be a “things just aren’t like they used to be” post. Because, in reality, they aren’t. Many of the things created in the digital age give us a huge advantage as far as speed, convenience & accessibility are concerned but at the same time they make us reliant on a way of living that is drastically changing our society. I was recently taking in a show where the announcer came on and said “please no flash photography or anything that will emit light as it will disturb those around you“. The young girl next to me turned to her father and asked “but can I text?“. I wanted to take her cell phone, smash it, and say “just be quiet and enjoy the show in front of you“. It disgusted me that she just couldn’t put her phone away for 30 minutes in fear that they would miss that ever-important text from a friend (the father said yes by the way, which made me even more sick). I’m a people watcher, and what I notice time and time again is when a group of people are waiting in line for something, or even waiting for the meal to come at a restaurant, instead of talking amongst one another they will pull out their smart phones and txt or go on Facebook to pass the time. I watch couples at a restaurant each with their phone in hand scrolling up and down instead of talking with one another. I could go on and on here.
The speed at which information now travels in mind-blowing. Many people get their news updates from Twitter or other social media sites. Something that happens in one corner of the world is known in the other corners in mere seconds, which can be fantastic at times. One thing I have seen it do though is ruin our ability to orally communicate with each other. Some people’s relationships exist only in a typed form, sometimes never even meeting the person on the other end. People can now build very profitable careers without ever being seen, living in a dark reality where they can be whoever they want without ever having to see another human face. But have you seen the way people spell & interact these days? Like y do ppl think its ok 2 like rite this way. I’ve seen people pass in resumes that were typed in this manner which just boggles my mind.
Not only do the social implications frighten me but also the reliance that people have on this technology. Watch a parent take away a child’s cellphone and the child will react in a way that you would think one of their limbs had just been removed. Actually I’m sure most kids would rather lose a limb than their smart phone. I’m not saying I’m much better. I am on my phone all throughout the day. Constantly on Twitter, Facebook, and surfing the web for new information using all the benefits I just complained about. The difference is that I know the value of the spoken word, and building HUMAN relationships with people.
I pride myself on being a people person because I truly believe if you can connect with someone face to face it is much more valuable, both personally and professionally, than a virtual relationship. So I have begun “The Analog Project” with no anticipated end date. I plan to document people using analog in their daily life, no matter what form it may be. I look forward to speaking with the people I photograph to get their opinions on the subject and to see why they choose to live that way. I hope it will give me some insight into the digital age, and give me a better understanding of the analog world. The images in this post are the first ones taken with the project in mind (so far just people using printed material but the project will expand to many other mediums) and I look forward to sharing more down the road.
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