Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Temporary Age

Psalm 1, German Psalter, Ambrosius Lobwasser, 1722

When I cannot close my eyes, and the night goes on

Troubles taunt on every side, and my doubt is strong

Shelter me, shelter me

Let the thought of your compassion be my strength

Prince of Peace, shelter me

from the tempest of my unbelief

Mighty God who calmed the sea, come and shelter me.

Bruce Carroll, Shelter Me

Children of the 21st Century are born into a digital landscape. There's is a world of ridges and valleys built upon ones and zeroes. I entered the stage, as Calvin Seerveld puts it, in the middle of the 20th Century- 1956. In 1956 gasoline averaged 25 cents per gallon, a first-class postage stamp was 3 cents, and unemployment was at 4.4%. Woody Guthrie released This Land Is Your Land. Jackson Pollock died. The minimum wage was $1.00 and the average annual salary was $5,300. Something else happened in 1956, something that would change the way we see. Ampex introduced the Quad- a practical, professional videotape machine. In November, 1956, CBS became the first American television network to replace film with videotape.
In my senior year of high school I became fascinated with photography (the word photography comes from two Greek words and literally means writing with light). After reading everything I could find, I built a darkroom in my parents basement, under the stairwell. There was no sink so I had to carry tanks and trays upstairs to a bathroom or outside and use a garden hose. My favorite film was Tri-X, ASA 400, but, if you increased time and temperature in development you could 'push' it to 1600. Favorite developer-D-76. So, what's the point? Shooting pictures on film, for me, was a big deal. For each frame, I had ONE chance. My camera did not have a delete button. When the shutter was released I was committed. So, I framed my shots carefully, composing as I shot. I knew that capturing the image was only the beginning of a lengthy, expensive process. Watching that image appear in the developer was nothing short of a miracle, something 'children of the digital age' may not experience. This is a microwave, high-speed, temporary time in which we live. Did you know you can buy an ink jet printer, with ink cartridges, for less than the replacement ink cartridges cost? Why buy ink cartridges? Just buy a new printer. I suppose visits to Wal-Mart remind me why I love scripture, a reminder that some things are permanent.
I just read this- 'Then God said, "Let Us make man in our image, according to our likeness". When I was nine years old I said "yes" to Him. It was a heart/soul/mind yes. So, I am still in the developer. And it is a lengthy, expensive process.

1 comment:

  1. I think I'm a much worse light writer since digital is main stream, but I'm not letting that be my excuse. Thanks for reminding me to be committed.