Tuesday, November 30, 2004

"Circle Theatre - New Orleans"


"Circle Theatre - New Orleans" - "Rough Edge Photography" by James W. Bailey.

Artist Statement: "The Death of Film can be explored in real life through an examination of the archaeology of abandoned inner city theatres. Circle Theatre in New Orleans is one such rich find. All that remains of this once powerful and mystical symbol of imagination is the parking sign. I shot two images of the Circle Theatre parking sign from inside my car parked in what was once the theatre parking lot. One burned and distressed image is layered over the other to make the composite. The original negatives were melted onto the composite and forever destroyed. I was trying to illustrate how a filmed version of reality can be constructed by assembling the decayed elements of film itself. Even if film does die, there will always be particles of its existence to discover and to behold. " - James W. Bailey

37 Comments:

Anonymous Charles Neenan said...

DIGITAL – THE FINAL FRONTIER

© 2004 Charles Neenan, Pictureman Studios

The Model T automobile revolutionized world transportation. Everyman could now afford motorized transport. Life was good. No longer was personal motorized travel exclusively for the wealthy. The Model T was a well-engineered, simple machine good for either city or country driving. Life became very good for the masses. Today we have climatized, stereoized, fourwheelized, DVD’d road vehicles that are faster, safer, more reliable, and infinitely more comfortable than a Model T. Except for the nostalgia buffs, no one on the face of the entire earth is bemoaning “the good old days” of traveling to Grandma’s in their Model T!
Twenty years before the Model T revolutionized the automobile industry and changed lives so dramatically, George Eastman realized the potential of the mass market for photography. Modernizing photography, he used a newly invented film with a base that was flexible, unbreakable, and could be rolled. Emulsions coated on a cellulose nitrate film base, such as Eastman's, made the mass-produced box camera a reality. Eastman's first simple camera in 1888 was a wooden, light-tight box with a simple lens and shutter that was factory-filled with film. The photographer pushed a button to produce a negative. Once the film was used up, the photographer mailed the camera with the film still in it to the Kodak factory where the film was removed from the camera, processed, and printed. The camera was then reloaded with film and returned. Cameras evolved, and color came to film with Kodachrome in 1935; professional color films followed into the 1940’s. The 1950’s heralded Polaroid film, and the 1960’s onward gave us ever faster, denser, and more forgiving film.
It was business as usual. Photographers took pictures and either had the film developed by professional dark room operations, or developed their own. (Of course, to develop one owns film one needed a dark room, chemicals, enlargers, and other expensive paraphernalia. Convenient? You be the judge.)
Technology had not appreciably changed in the way images were captured since 1837! (Yes, camera frames made major leaps, lenses likewise, but image capture needed a one-time use “wet” medium for over 160 years!)
Then...in the 1990’s a new frontier was crossed. No more emulsions, no more silver nitrate, no more dark rooms...digital had arrived! Almost 100 years after George Eastman improved photographic technology from the 1830’s (Daguerre’s process was invented in 1837), images could be captured digitally.
One hundred years after the Wright brothers launched the age of flight at Kitty Hawk, we have private aircraft flying into and out of space. We have jets that fly at Mach 5 or better. No one is bemoaning the good old days of propeller planes!
Then why should we listen to film users complain about the digital age, saying things were better “back when”...? They need to get rid of their 160+ years old technology, and move into the 21st Century. I guarantee not a one of them would prefer to fly 20 hours to Hawaii on a Constellation (the last of the grand four-engine commercial piston aircraft), when they can get there in eight on a Boeing 747. I guarantee not a one chooses to drive around in a Model T (at least at rush hour) when they can drive in a safer, more comfortable, climate controlled automobile.
Then why do these Luddites still insist film is the best technology for the future? Is it because they are afraid of using a computer to manipulate an image? Their collective whine is one needs a computer and printer to do digital at a cost of mega dollars, where they can do their thing in the dark room for a lot less money. Hmmmmm. I wonder how much a dedicated dark room full of noxious chemicals costs to build? I wonder how much the enlargers cost? Hmmmmm.
Wake up and smell the silicon folks. It is time to get behind the new technology of digital photography. It is time to cross the Frontier and embrace what will be the ONLY viable image capture technology in five to six years. Get rid of the whale oil lamps and use the electric light bulb.
Kodak ain't makin’ no more slide projectors, folks. They’re downsizing film manufacturing and ramping up digital camera production and digital image printing. Hint. Hint.

9:42 AM  
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7:30 PM  

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