Life as an Extreme Sport

the camera eye

I’ve been spending some time thinking about photography, since I hope to do a photo project in the upcoming weeks. Specifically, I’ve been thinking about the difference between the digital camera and a film camera. I mean, yes, there’s the obvious difference, and then there’s the ability to erase with a digital camera. You can take the picture until you’re satisfied with it; some would consider this a bonus, others (say, Zizek) would likely argue that it’s allowing a representational reality to flourish. But what I was specifically thinking about tonight was how a digital versus film camera is used. A TV commercial, adveristing Wal*Mart’s online film processing (upload your digital pictures to pick up film in store in an hour), was showing a mother photographing her child by holding the digital camera away from her, so that she could see what was on the screen instead of looking through the “viewfinder”. You can’t do this with a film camera; you have to hold a film camera to your eye, and to allow the camera to become an extension of you. All you see is through the camera; with a digital, you still see the outside world as you take the picture; it’s no longer an augmentation of self, but a mere tool. It changes the function and purpose, and I wonder how it changes the use.