Laugh if you will – and as this is a comedy column, you can start now – but eventually there is someone who is going to be asking this question. The interchangeability of images these days from smart devices to dumb surfaces is so complex that eventually you will be able to take the picture with anything that you can actually lift and send it to anything that is not actually on fire at the time.
Of course it will be at a cost. Every manufacturer will invent an app, an acronym, and a special protocol to let you into their device and then you will have to match it up – frequently by counting the number of electrons and dividing by three – with every other device. The days of having your picture taken by a photographer and then ordering a framed print for your mantlepiece are long gone. Any image that is ever made must cross a dozen electronic borders before it comes to rest.
Is this necessary? Not from your end, but then consider that you are not in control of that end, let alone anywhere else in the process. Daily there are changes to what goes where and how and you can barely keep up with it even if your devices automatically download their own updates. You are doomed to follow along and let the computer, electronics, or photographic store vacuum your wallet every six months as they crumple up one operating system and toss it in the basket. Sometimes the only relief for your feelings is to go down to the Apple store, wait until the expert is ready to see you, and then slap them.
Can we get off this treadmill? Only by trashing the entire structure of the smart phone/computer/digital camera setup. We can go buy a Leica MP film camera for the price of a small car. We can go find enough darkroom equipment and chemistry to redo what we re-did in the 1960’s. We can post prints through the mail to people elsewhere and eventually they will get them. As yet, the red post office box at the end of the street does not ask us for a password, nor does it send our Christmas cards or love letters to Macedonia or Moldova for dissection. The prospect is really tempting sometimes.
PS: If you are determined to decorate cats paint them with fish paste. They appreciate the thoughtfulness.