Virtual Duality and a Good Photo ~

In the pre-digital era, there was no such thing as photography without the finished product. This may have been as simple as a box of color slides you slipped into a Kodak carousel, or as sophisticated as an archival black & white print. But it was something, and it always occurred after you made the exposure in the camera. We take a lot more photos today, a lot more, because smartphones got smarter and good digital cameras got cheaper. The unprecedented accessibility of picture taking, however, is just one side of the coin; on the other is the radical notion of picture making.

This is the beautiful dialectic of digital photography, its yin and yang, and exists on levels we couldn't predict back when dinosaurs had Nikons. Part of this, the traditional part, is in the artifact: the after-the-fact creation (or more accurately, the re-creation) of what you saw when you took the picture. The print. It can be anything from a gallery-quality chromogenic piece of art framed and hanging on your wall or a 3 x 5 from Costco. Doesn't matter. Post-digital era be damned, print that sucker out. We think we can be content with the virtual archive, the cloud, the 64Gb storage of an iPhone but I have serious doubts, and I bet, deep inside, you do too. Leafing through my children's (and now grandchildren's, for heaven's sake) baby albums is a deeply moving and bittersweet joy that even Lightroom cannot accord, and this experience is ageless.

The truly non-traditional aspect to all this is the immediate ability to share your photos.  Where the yin of printing is personal, the yang of sharing is universal. Whether it's the personal focus of an email or the wide broadcast of social media, it's an unprecedented avenue of expression. And you need to take advantage of it. Listen, if you can survive the onslaught of all my photographs over the years, I can certainly survive yours. But let me make it even clearer: I want to see them.

You might be laboring under the misapprehension that there is a certain standard of artistry or photoshop cleverness that needs to be reached before you can presume to post an image online, but it's nonsense. The photo is what you're posting, but what you're sharing is the passion that made you take it in the first place.

And who doesn't want to see that?