“Oh, good,” the lady said with fierce conviction and clear italics. “None of that digital crap!”
Have you ever felt a room wince? With just four or five people standing in the little gallery space, our mutual cringe was unmistakable as the social atonality of “digital crap” blew apart the melodious duets of small talk. A tiny pause magnetized the atmosphere. One side of the gallery was filled with lucid, graceful abstract photography, created with film, while the other side displayed a modest selection of still life images created solely with pixels. Created by moi. Moi. Who was sitting right there.
I clamped my mouth firmly shut, literally biting my lips to avoid the urge to interrupt, and reminded myself of Richard Thompson’s scalding comment, “They’re worse than critics. They’re amateur critics.” Graciously, the film photographer tip-toed around the scorched earth of the conversational land mine she had accidentally triggered. She assured the lady that the unique and unpredictable qualities of the film processes she favors were integral to her artwork. The lady seemed satisfied that, thanks to her insightful observation, the Crap of Digital had been vanquished. Buying neither film nor pixel, but having thus had her say, the lady soon departed, proving the visual art corollary to Kenneth Patchen’s Theorem which states “People who say they love poetry and never buy any are a bunch of cheap sons-of-bitches.”
I guess what upsets that lady is the thought that pretty much anyone with a cell phone can wander down the Picnic Point running path on pretty much any Thursday afternoon, and take a picture, for chrissake, and that picture can be awesome. Yeah, I said it. Awesome. (Oh, I suppose what really upsets that lady is the danger that she might accidentally like an image that someone made with their cell phone on Thursday afternoon, walking on Picnic Point Trail, before she realized it was – you know – digital crap.)
Well, next time, that lady should take all that money she isn’t spending on buying digital crap and upgrade to the cell phone with the “kick-ass picture setting” on it. Cause that’s what I did.