Journey From Me to My Virtual Self
Our relationship with technology starts the moment we enter our existence, even before birth. While in utero, we are seen. A window to our soul, before we even have the chance to see. Our existence of pure bliss, invaded by doppler and sound waves providing an image to our nakedness, unfairly denying us the ability to see through to those who seek to know every detail of our very existence. For me, and my memory as it serves me, my first real identifiable joy with technology comes from the acquisition of my first computer, a Commodore Vic 20. By second grade I was coding in Basic, making a stick figure walk across a beach on the screen while the story of his being was scrolled at the top. I remember the visual so vividly although the story escapes me. As I progressed through my childhood I grew to love programming in high school…more Basic and Pascal. It came easy, code fluidly streaming through my fingers to the keys. Naturally, I ended up being a computer science major and make my living being an engineer, but that was only one facet of me. My deep love of music, feeling it, playing it (although it’s been so long I know longer remember how) filled my being. Even then I dissected songs and notes, deriving meaning from each note and word. Yes, I had 8 track tapes, cassettes and now on to CDs and my iPod. Music is with me always, using it to define my thoughts, feelings and being in every moment, a song for every situation to help me define it and compartmentalize it.
But something that has grown slowly over time, gradually becoming a large part of what I’m doing is yes, the Internet. Not shopping, but connecting, socializing, relating to people. Social networking gives an incredible virtual space where friendships are formed from across the globe to down the street with people you may never have encountered. The virtual world seems so much more inviting and welcoming, maybe because those who gravitate there have this one very strong thing in common or the connections we make through electrons bonds us in ways we never thought possible. The experience and the ability to do new things and find more, others, like you, and whom you can learn incredible things from is like no other. The constant opportunities to grow in many directions are prevalent and what I once thought not for me has grown into such a large part of my existence as well. I have a whole identity online, in various communities I travel through and I love that entire virtual world that calls us to connect, communicate, learn and be with others.
And finally but certainly not least, photography is a large part of who I am, who I’ve always been. From my first camera through the many I have used to observe and capture the world to the two I think I need to make my work spectacular I can see people and things in a different an more meaningful way. Although, truth be told, I have the tools I need to make spectacular prints already. With photo, the irony of it is that although I coveted and acquired the Canon 40D (though I really want a bigger digital camera), my absolute love and where I can feel the most, say the most and make the most of photo in an effort to say what it is that needs to be said, for me, lies in the darkroom and alternative processes. Not digital. Digital photo has its place, even for me, but not in the way that I need it to make a connection. So, while all other aspects of my technological experience is progressing forward, embracing every advance, my photo steps back in time to a different way and blossoms, yet can be shared digitally at least through the eyes of a scanner and web page.
So as I reflect on what I am, and what I’ve become in relation to technology, really, it is impossible to separate myself from it. I cannot deny the parts of me that need music to feel, need the Internet to relate and need photography to see.