Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Kinescope at 11

Sit down and strap in, we're setting the Wayback Machine to 1914. You heard me: Nine-teen For-teen. That's the year attached to the above photo, on cyber-loan to the Lenslinger Estate from the Amanda Emily Collection. I could look at it all day. In fact, I have - stealing glances between non-linear edits, wondering if the three proto-photogs (Dick Sears, James Hutchinson, Jake Coolidge) had any idea what pioneers they were as they filmed newly elected Boston Mayor James Michael Curley. Did they know those cumbersome cameras would one day be replaced with sleek shoulder-mounted models, slathered in logos and empty promises? No way. Did they suspect the then-embryonic form of communication would one day grow bloated, shallow and ubiquitous? Not likely. Could they have forseen a future in which field camera operators would forgo the scratchy wool suit look for the easy-wash wardrobe of a roadie for Hoobastank? Doubtful. Did they have the slightest inkling that the balding underling in the doorway there would be replaced by an army of incredibly hot yet weirdly stern PR chicks? Something tells me no. Is there any way they would have fathomed that in less than century the moving picture news business would be rendered nearly irrelevant by globally-connected cyphering machines, a crumbling American economy and ten decades of unabated newsgatherer hubris???

Come to think it, I didn't see that last one coming either. Guess that makes me a pioneer, too.

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