Patient presents with documentary vision

Posted on December 10, 2011 by

P.J. Rey and Nathan Jurgenson talk about documentary vision in this blog post, describing it as a tendency “whereby we increasingly experience the world as a potential social media document.” The stuff of daily life, in other words, is more and more becoming something we automatically consider not only recording but posting online.

Here for example, is a shot of a Stellar’s Jay wondering how long it can get me to chase it, in pursuit of only moderately sharp images:

Teasing Jay

I had a dream the other day wherein I couldn’t remember what our house on Oak Street looked like, and so I had a dig through my digital archives and found a series of shots of a yellow duplex, split down the middle but superficially like the house owned by Frank the Entropic Landlord. It’s a house that never existed, of course; we’ve never lived on Oak Street.

Within the same folder of imaginary pictures were a bunch of shots from a family wedding I hadn’t gone to, a gathering of genetic relations I haven’t seen, for the most part, in about twenty-five years. And then, as is the way of dreams, we were actually at the wedding, Kelly and I, coping with skeevy dream versions of people I’m entirely estranged from. Soon I decided “Enough of this!”–lucid dreaming is a beautiful thing–and reduced the whole thing to a bunch of digital pictures again, although this time we were looking at them on the security monitors at the wedding venue, to the great disgruntlement of the security guys.

This is how far photography has wound itself into my consciousness: I dream supercool things and then try to photograph them, and have random dream thoughts and automatically expect to have pictures verifying those non-existent memories.

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