Nancy van House, a professor at SIMS at Cal, has had the fortune to play around with mobile phone cameras and GPS devices that are being explored in the Garage Cinema Research program. Her comments on why she wants a GPS-enabled camera shed some light on where things may be headed.
I think Nancy should begin to live in the present. Primary concern with all of this digital photographic capacity is making the immediate travel experience subservient to a future catalogue. If she really can’t remember which is Oakhurst and which is Mariposa then she wasn’t really there in the first place. And I mean REALLY THERE!
What is next for Nancy–date stamping her sex acts? Will she know which baby is which if her iPaq GPS runs out of juice during birthing?
Hummers, you know, are not representative of the the only egregious and ostentatious product category on the market.
Stay at home, Nancy. Catalogue your kitchen.
Wow, that’s the third missive I’ve read this week demanding GPS cameras. A correspondence committee seems in order. (Or maybe just another pricey conference.) Seriously, I suppose I underrate GPS because I resent that it doesn’t work too well where I live, but a few layers of data processing and translation would be needed to make a bunch of lat/lons into a record of travel I’d enjoy poring over. (Julian Bleecker talks about this in his recent piece on location and UI.) But I disagree with BJMe that GPS photography subordinates the experience to the record. On the contrary, when I travel, I am so immersed in the experience that the factual details of my journey (where I was standing when I saw that diving hawk, say) can sometimes get lost. But in sharing my memories with others later on, it can help a lot to have a shared frame of reference, which is all GPS really is–a shared frame of reference more precise and foolproof than most. Which is to say that I can’t wait to play with this stuff at SIMS.