Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Techo phobic? ME? Hmmmmm....

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After the Thanksgiving holiday, I was getting in the car to make the return 6 hour trip to New England while saying goodbye and chatting with my 19 year old nephew. I was gathering up all my entertainment devices from the back seat to pass the time and was unaware that he was watching me when I heard him ask with a note of incredulity in his voice "Is that a cassette player?"  It was at that moment the gap between my 49 and his youthfulness widened.  You would have thought I pulled out a gramophone, beta-max and 8 track tape player and to him it probably was just as ancient. We had a good laugh in that comfortable way we have with one another as I felt compelled to show him I indeed did have my iPod Nano with me too! As though that would make up for my electronic deficiencies in his techno youth oriented eyes. After the shared chuckle between us, and me thinking perhaps it was a good idea I hid the gramophone from sight, I thought to myself "maybe I do need need to step it up a notch or two!"

I wasn't doing this out of any need on my part to be rebellious, or out of some protest against the technology age, it was simply that at my age my memory is not what it used to be and when it comes to downloading my audiobooks and music on iTunes I am woefully out of practice. It, quite frankly, can take me an hour to do what my probably takes my young and hip nieces and nephews minutes, OK no, seconds to complete. I also do not always get it right the first time and have to really think long and hard sometimes about what it is I am trying to do.

Now, back in my early 30's when I was lucky enough to return to college to persue a second degree in fine art, I held tight to my conviction that print media, PHOTO print media was THE only way to go. I simply LOVED the smell, feel and experience of printing both color and black and white prints in a dark room environment. There was a wonderful camaraderie in a dark room that those who do it, understand what I mean. It never fails to make my heart beat faster in anticipation as you swish your recently exposed photo paper in the developer.  When the murky image starts to emerge you hold your breath expectantly waiting for the print you worked so hard on to appear before your very eyes.  Sure, there was TONS of disappointment concerning shots not captured or exposed incorrectly, but the feeling that comes over you when you get it just right is indeed indescribable. All your senses are engaged except for perhaps taste, although that is indeed subjective, as some of what came out of those dark room days were tasteless to be sure. : )

I finally succumbed to the digital age once I relocated to New England since I  no longer had access to a free print studio. When you add on the expense of paying for the pleasure to make your artistic inspirations come to life it can quickly add up. So I "went digital" and it came with a whole new set of frustration and disappointment. I had to rely on a computer now which  took out all the fun and frivolity of a dark room experience. Boring. You really have to be truly self motivated to sit on your butt and stare at a screen instead of moving around a darkroom going from wet print to finished product. Far more satisfying in my opinion.

While I have to admit liking the instant gratification of watching my recently taken images appear almost seconds after snapping the shutter release on the tiny display screen. That is fun and rewarding. But it can never truly replace the joy and pleasure of physically manipulating an image with your hands to make it completely your own. Computers just feel like a filter between you and the work and I am too tactile a person for that to truly satisfy my artistic aspirations.

My husband tells me my cell phone is out of date and needs updating. He has been telling me this for close to a year now. I tried to make the switch this summer with a PalmPre he had given me. I was overwhelmed at all the bells, whistles and features and had to beg him to switch me back to my old phone. I simply do not use a cell often enough to want all the latest features that so many others look for with covetous eyes. My needs are simple: with my aging eyes, I do like a large number pad to dial, and an equally large keyboard interface in which to text. I use the internet and email features occasionally and yes I am aware how slow my trusted phone truly is! He is pushing me to get an iPhone, so who knows where it will all lead? I will make the change, just has to be at my own pace, not one dictated by media release dates. There will always be something better, faster, and more powerful, but this does not mean I have to own it.  I am not so much  techno phobic, as just someone who gets set in her ways and prefers to feel comfortable with my knowledge base.

Oh, and to my nephew, you will be proud to note I downloaded all my media onto the computer recently, including the one cassette I was using since I oddly enough also had it on CD! I then transferred it onto my iPod Nano and am putting the CD and cassette player away in a bureau drawer. So perhaps one day it can be discovered after I am long gone and you can send me a cosmic chuckle when you recall only too vividly the time this "ol' lady" gave it up and stepped into the age of technology. Better late then never as the saying goes!



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