Staying in focus

It is actually very funny, but I had to write a whole article about a spontaneous thought, which lasted no more than two seconds – or so. In fact, I love to photograph things. Thus, I was somewhere outside again playing with the light and observing things – static things, moving things, things beeing borned and things dying. At this point, I will already abandon the self-narrative style and try to adopt a more hetero-narrative writing (maybe a third-person narration?). It is always more comfortable keeping a distance from things.

Photographers love pressing the shutter button on their cameras, but moreover they love hearing the sound of the shutter, when opening and closing – paradoxically the sound is not every time the same; it depends on the camera as well. There is also one more (of the many) possibility given to those, who are working with a digital camera; the possibility to instantly focus on the object they are taking the photograph of. In fact most digital cameras are doing the hard job literally “alone” by choosing some areas to focus on – and partly suggesting to the photographer the potential possibilities.

There is of course the possibility of manual focus in digital cameras, but the process described further above refers to autofocus – mainly for the sake of the authenticity and purity of the depiction of that very first and spontaneous thought.

At this point, I must admit that I often make fun of my own camera, when forcing my camera to focus on things, where it’s practically impossible to focus on due to multiple factors – mainly technical I suppose, but external too. There is no bigger suffering than watching the lens moving back and forth, trying to find the appropriate conditions in order to eventually focus on a certain area or spot. It really sounds sick; I mean I wouldn’t ever laugh at someone or something that is suffering, but I think that it is foremost the sound, which made the whole situation ridiculous (that robotic sound of the future). Anyway, the crux is that this hard attempt to focus on something – anything – immediately brought to my mind a very contemporary problem; that need of constant focus on each activity and the final incapability to focus on everything at the same time. Considering the digital cameras focus mechanism as a way (and metaphor) to describe modern society, its activities and partial inability to focus effectively on one thing at the time, could undoubtedly be proved as unreliable and fatuous too; however this isn’t an academic paper and a magnificent argumentation isn’t necessarily needed. It’s just an idea.

I want to be totaly honest; I was thinking about society in regard to the “medial turn” and that new relationship people build with media and technology in general and social media in particular. So, back to the camera focus process; it felt for a moment – or many probably – as if society was the lens, that was desperately trying to focus on something – anything – and overcome the blurry areas. I have to admit that I like that abstract “focus on something – anything”. It carries a generous dose of irony in it. And yes, it slightly became hard to focus on one thing and effectively complete a task at a time.

Today, people live in a world full of possibilities due to the technical developments and achievements. The technical development per se isn’t bad at all. Machines can’t take on responsibilites anyway – untli now. Thus, people can freely choose, how to 1) use machines and if 2) they want to use machines – at least wherever this isn’t obligatory – and 3) how to organize time when using machines. And my latest conversations with others showed that this sort of “inner-management” isn’t always going well. I mean, one has to be really disciplined to manage everything and not only to manage everything, but to manage that “everything” succesfully. There is certainly a big amount of energy required there. People often complain about their inability to fulfill simple tasks – they are probably too boring because of their simplicity – and others can’t fulfill tasks they used to fulfill (e.g. reading a book or completing a puzzle). Is the problem the simplicity or the need for patience in these tasks? The fact that people are offered an endless repertoire of possibilities (and by possibilities I mean the media) is a new notion of 1) how information is perceived and 2) how time is divided or in general how time is understood.

That struggle of my camera lens to find a spot to focus on, fired thoughts like those above and made me also unfold my love for metaphors and images.

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