Thursday, May 24, 2012

30 things "The Scream" is Screaming, 14 (Is This Art?)

Yesterday, I didn't get much of a chance to post anything and the time I did have to spend posting I focused on attempting to do what little I could to help save Wisconsin from Gov. Patsy, and what time I had after that I used for my evening walk that I used to do during the day but I now do at night, and as I walked I listened to a podcast, I don't remember which one, but I heard on that podcast that they had developed a camera that converted your pictures to text.

That can't be true, I thought.

Then: Who would want that? I thought.

Then: I want that. More than anything, I thought, but I was in the middle of a nature preserve looking at a crane

and there was no place to get a camera that converted pictures to text.

Now, twenty-four hours later, I still want it and then I don't and then I do.  Mostly I want to see how it works.  I am, after all, an amateur photographer (I often wonder what separates amateur photographers like me from artist photographers, and I think the difference is that I don't feel confident enough to simply say I'm a photographer.  I put amateur in front of the word as a way of separating myself from the thing -- kind of like when you have to talk about an actress you think is pretty but you don't want Sweetie to get offended, so you'll say something like "that Jennifer Aniston," using that to indicate that you're not really that close.)

Photography isn't really art the way I think of art, although I suppose it is, a little.  You still have to compose the photo and decide where to focus and what the coloring should be and whether to crop it but it's not art in the sense that you can learn those things, and you can do them without really having any technical skill.  Calling photography art is like calling someone who's good at Guitar Hero a musician.

The "Verbal Camera" is a real thing, only it turns out it's not real the way I imagined it was real -- it is to a real verbal camera as photography is to art: an imitation of the real thing that almost anyone can do.  Here's the camera:

But when you take a picture, the image is sent to a person in another country, who will quickly describe your picture and give you a receipt that has the description of the image on it:

There's something indecipherably cool, to me, about the idea of a machine that would instantly take a scene:

And instantly describe it:

An oblong pond somewhat in the shape of an inverted footprint, with water going from midnight blue in one corner to sky blue as it fades off into the distance, the color only changed where the reflections of the trees around the pond, darker in the water than they are in real life, mirror themselves back into the sky they stab upwards into on the shores.  Fluffy grass crowds the water, leaning forward and jostling among itself for position while two sentinels of trees stand guard on the left, western side of the shore.  Wispy giant seagulls of clouds soar insubstantially on the horizon, themselves partly white and partly the blue of the evening sky...

While there is something ineluctably disappointing to find out such a thing doesn't exist and it's just outsourcing photo captions the way some McDonald's outsource drive-thru speaker orders.

So. In 24 hours, I came to believe a thing existed, and then learned it did not, and I am disappointed in the world being now slightly less wonderful than I thought it was.

Today's caption:


(He's right. It worked.)


Caption 13

Caption 12

Caption 11

Caption 10


Andrew Leon said...

I think the difference in the amateur is like the difference in some people saying "aspiring" writer. Do you write or don't you? Is writing just something you think about but don't actually do? I mean, it's easy to write and, so, be a writer.

Of course, that's not what people really mean.

So, then, there are the people that say aspiring author, and that's closer to what they mean, because you can't really be an author until you've completed something. So if you write a lot (like most "aspiring" writers) but never finish anything, saying you're an aspiring author is more correct.

All of this escapes the problem of what is really meant by all of it and that's that the word "professional" is being left off. So they want to say "I'm a professional writer" by just saying "writer," but, really, what they mean is "aspiring professional writer."

So, if you're not aspiring to be a professional photographer, I don't see the problem in just saying photographer. Except, then, people assume that's your profession, so "amateur" gets substituted in for "non-professional."

And I'm not really sure why I've gone on so long about this other than that I've had a long night, and I want homework, other than reading, to be made illegal.

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