Saturday, 26 January 2013

Ultimate challenge of the week: survive without a computer!

My laptop died this week. HDD problem apparently. Luckily, I'm obsessed with backing things up, as many photographers are, I imagine, so I didn't really lose anything of importance, but the whole thing has got me thinking (which is an irregular occurrence.) Are we all too reliant on technology?

This isn't a new argument of course but I'm not talking about the threat of having the country's accumulated wealth deleted or the unsettling thought that we're often driven 40 thousand feet into the air by a piece of software. I'm talking about us, people, in our daily lives and how almost everything we do these days revolves around a collection of circuits - and more importantly how we're held ransom when those circuits decide to burn out!

I can't believe how lost I feel without my laptop. I realised that practically my entire life has come to a stand still for the simple reason that virtually everything I do is…well...virtual! My uni work, my photographic projects and assignments, my music, my connection to friends, all is accessed and controlled my digital companion.

Now I of all people appreciate the advantages today's technology brings; I can't imagine a world without Photoshop, even though I know photographers coped just fine without it for over a century, but I wonder if life was somehow more simple back then. After all the laws of chemistry don't change - if something didn't go right in the darkroom and an image was ruined there was only a limited set of possible reasons why, one of the major ones being human error. In 2013 however we're working with far more complex equipment and a passing knowledge of how it functions probably won't help you very much; I for one use IT every day but can't say I'm an expert in every aspect of how it works. I suspect most people aren't, which is why we, in this 'Golden Age' of hyper complex systems are unable to carry out even some of the most basic tasks when it all goes !*%$ up!

Furthermore (I could go on about this all day) stuff these days has remarkably limited longevity with technology becoming obsolete in a matter of months. Actually I think it's rather amusing how we react when faced with older gadgets that at one time we thought were awesome but now realise are nothing better than paper-weights! I'll provide you with a suitably relevant example; I'm writing this on my old laptop from about 6 or 7 years ago. It's not-so-quietly chugging away in the background and seemingly every time I hit a key it emits an alarming whirr. When we bought it for me to do my GCSE work on it was perfectly suitable, but now I've got to tell you it's a heap of junk! Seriously when we went to pick it up at PC World the shop assistant swung the deal by promising us a "free, complimentary sack of coal" whilst the wealthy gentleman beside us, purchasing the latest and up-to-date model had to wait for his 'purple-shirt' to nip out to the warehouse to fetch his bike and dynamo.

Anyway I think I've made my point so I'll stop there. It's been a knackering day of photography with me shooting quite literally from dawn to dusk. I started out with a couple of hours back up on Waldridge Fell and slowly but surely made my way to Lumley Castle and the woods behind. I can no longer feel my extremities but I think the images made it worthwhile, although I can't be sure and won't be until next week when I get my laptop back!

No really I must stop: this old clanger of a machine is running low on solid fuel...and I left the shovel out in the snow!

See ya :)     

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