|You don't see the car to my left and the road behind me.|
This is one of the most important of my discoveries in my way of seeing. How much the camera doesn't show you. I can take a picture with the entire room in chaos and as long as what is in the frame is perfect no one will be the wiser. As I created my own online store, this began to come into sharper and sharper focus. This is all people will know when they look at a picture or a film: what some one wanted them to see. It is a fully editable and unreal experience, even when you are the subject matter that experience that is revealed is so different from what was actually there in the live edition.
This a huge part of what John Berger is trying to relay to us in his Ways of Seeing series (see below for links), how difference the experience of seeing something live is between seeing it through print. It is almost the same as living your life in box where you only see what comes in from of the opening, only that still gives one a live experience. As Berger pointed out even when looking at the painting on-screen (even if the entire piece is in the frame) you are still looking at movement that has nothing to do with the painting. The virtual reality is a living breathing piece of machinery that is constantly blocking out the real.
Nothing could be more evident than the loss of reality we are witnessing on a daily basis. This colonization (to use Naomi Klein's term from No Logo) is becoming profound as the hyper-reality seeps into our culture not as a passing fad, but by becoming the culture itself. Our lives are influenced by the images we see whether moving or still. When a mother reads a magazine, for instance, and sees a perfectly clean house and a completely model perfect mother cooking, it becomes something she may think is obtainable. What she doesn't see are the hundreds of people who are involved in that image, including a master graphics artist using Photoshop --once the almost perfected image has been created it goes to them to create the perfect, the hyper-reality.
Berger does a great job in illustrating just how this is done by showing the lights and the hairdressers, as he panned out from his original shots. He also is quite right about the stillness in standing in front of a painting and the effect this has as opposed to seeing it in print and conceptualized within some framed context or even seeing it on the screen of either television or the internet. "Art for Art's sake" is what someone may misconstrue on this topic, however it is more than that, it is Art for our own sake. Take for instance, the new studies that say children cannot learn by looking at a screen, they must experience the language in order to learn a concept. It must be contextualized concretely in the real world.
The bright side to this all as the world is awakening to the hyper-reality. Many people have begun to work against it and really look out into the world around them. The studies proving screens aren't that helpful are solidifying that view that was once only a wild theory without actual basis. I don't want to vilify cameras, they are quite useful as long as the dangers of manipulation are exposed. The methods revealed so those who are working to create the perfect know it is a hard-fought battle that is truly unobtainable in this world.
Check out Ways of Seeing when you have the chance:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XShzabEv8bM