January 22, 2005

Like a person, the Photo Phazer has good and bad days. It will inexplicably drop bands of image data without reason.* This is one of my favorite effects, and I wistfully liken it to the scratches and bubbles that occurred on wet collodion plates in the early days of photography. For a while I seriously attempted to deconstruct the reasons for the glitches; testing my way through hypothesis about temperature, vibration, and battery life with no avail. In the end I lapsed into a zen-like acceptance of the Phazer's "Being" and allowed its unpredictability to remain unquantifiable. 

*The most dramatic example of the Phazer's mood swings resulted in this lovely little digital abstraction:


Amy Louise Skorheim said...

I like that. Zen-like acceptance of error. When the fight against the mistake just doesn't work, you let it in and allow it to run its meaty little hands through your fingerpaints, then you can stand back and either decry or find nuance and beauty in the effect.

I tried to find some Zen last night. The film I watched at the Hollywood theater was so badly mishandled and/or old that huge scratches ran racing stripes down the right side of the film. All I could think about was how some yahoo projectionist had ruined my engagement with cinema. I also thought about how dang expensive film prints are, as you no doubt remember from our days as lowly mega-plex managers.

But ultimately didn't that error make my experience of the film on January, 21 2009 utterly unique? No one else, aside from my theather companion and the two other couples in the house saw exactly the movie I saw. And it reminded me I was seeing a film. In a theater. A copy of a film that had been apparently had more than a few screenings.

So I'm taking your Zen of Error and running with it. Easier than asking for my money back.

Jeffrey T. Baker said...

At some point I would like to reach a place spiritually where the Zen-like acceptance occurs before all those compulsions to fix the thing rear up with frustration and curse. In my defense though, with regards to the Phazer, my experimentation with the intent of fixing lasted about three minutes until I realized the artistic potential of the unexpected— at which point all my energies went to experimenting with the intent of harnessing "the look" of it.

Maybe our next film should have racing stripe scratches down the side for a more lived-in look. What better way to fool people into thinking it has previously been in front of an audience!