Old Dogs/New Trix
The last five years have been some of the most revolutionary in the history of the world. We went through a pandemic of unimaginable proportions, which crossed the world like a lightning bolt, infecting the far reaches of the globe seemingly in an instant. It changed us. Permanently. We staggered and recovered, only to become engaged in a war threatening to engulf the world.
Politics (regardless of your point of view) has become more bitter, contentious, and consequential. We have been told to doubt our foundations, political system, and understanding of reality. Sadly, none of this will be going away anytime soon.
Despite all this, technology has pushed us forward into unknown territory. "AI" has become a contemporary buzzword. Like every new technology, it has engendered fear and misunderstanding and hammered home the idea that the dangerous unknown is directly in front of us.
But isn't that how it's always been? We've never known what was in store for us, so why should today be any different? We're a plucky lot. With confidence and an optimistic spirit, we will move forward, embracing the changes on our doorstep and finding our way through the seemingly bewildering maze of the future. As the great Transcendentalist and Unitarian Minister Theodore Parker said, "I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see, I am sure it bends toward justice."
Art, in general, and photography, in particular, is simply a catalyst for one of humanity's oldest, most universal, and most profound needs: storytelling. Methods and means change with the times, but the essentialness of storytelling remains. From the first hushed, late-night huddle around the Paleolithic fire to the virtual reality and artificial intelligence of the moment and near future, storytelling was and will continue to be one of humanity's most essential undertakings.
Part of the expression of our humanity is the need to share our vision with each other through theatre, dance, painting, sculpture, music, and the like. We are also eager consumers of all this storytelling; it enriches us in ways that commodities and wealth cannot and fills a need in the soul that completes us and makes us human.
The image of an old photographer and visual storyteller was created using a cutting-edge contemporary AI tool called Midjourney, thus conflating one of our oldest and most cherished disciplines with one of the latest tools to find a new way to tell a story. And so, life goes on. In addition, I also edited this post using artificial intelligence! And so this story continues...