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From Capture to Facilitation

Shanghai: posed snapshot

How does the role of the photographer change in a world where billions of sensors combine to capture ~octillions of experiences? Does ‘the camera’ change from being a experience time-and-location shifting device to something more aligned to triggering experiences?

One might be tempted to assume that the days of the camera are numbered – why carry something when the features it offers are so inherently part of the everyday urban infrastructure – running the full gamut from surveillance (big brother) to sousveillance (little sister)? Perhaps, even the importance of knowing whose finger is on the trigger will also fade as our desire for, and sense of ownership blurs?

But as far as habits go, the everyday theatre that is snapshot photography will take a long time to fade from our collective consciousness – it is after all so damn social. The future perfect camera may well shift to one of facilitatorhelping co-ordinate the sensor ecosystem before, during and after the moment.

Beyond the obvious manipulation of tech-sensors in what contexts will it be desirable to guide/trigger postures, expressions or emotions in subjects – for example through a camera interface that reacts to the subjects actions/reactions or, looking a few more years out the remote control of stimulants into the subjects bloodstream? Think connected bio-tech hacked for the recreational market.

In what contexts would subjects be willing absolve a high degrees of control over what is pumped into their bodies to the person holding ‘the camera’? You might not consider it a direct correlation but its not really that far off – the inspirational/aspirational/emotional fix offered up by a Nike store is perhaps more aggressively manipulative in its understanding of our pressure points than you care to admit. And where NIke, Amazon, Tesco and Google now lead with the massively relational understanding of our behaviour the rest are sure to follow or wither away in uncompetitiveness.

Mine’s a double, ta.

Photos: kindly posing for documentation this week in Shanghai.