Park Slope, Brooklyn. .

Park Slope, Brooklyn.

. . .

These are some rough notes for an essay on photologs and digital photography. I'm writing for a general audience so some of these points are pretty basic.

Photologs are a logical development in photography, enabled and encouraged by the spread of digital cameras. The incremental cost of taking photos with a digital camera is negligible. This means people don't have to think twice about generating a regular stream of images by shooting whatever catches their eye. The cameras are getting smaller too, so people are taking them everywhere. Photography becomes more of an everyday thing and not just something you do on birthdays and vacations. The instant feedback of digital turns people into better photographers, and even bad photographers can take good photos with digital cameras because they're quite forgiving of screwups and poor conditions.

But what do you do with all those photos? Obviously you're not going to print them all out, as this involves some investment of time and money. Letting them sit on your hard drive is not much fun. If you know what you're doing, it's faster, easier and cheaper to put a photo on the Web than it is to print out a photo to stick on the refrigerator. You could build a standard Web photo gallery, but this is not so easy to update, and a photolog puts a clear emphasis on the most recent photos. If you maintain a photolog for long enough, you end up with a collection that functions much like a standard album of prints, allowing you to look back at a particular moment in time. Then there is the feedback and the community aspect of photologs.

Much as MP3 files have broken the psychological link between music and the physical format of tapes and CDs, digital photos are erasing the idea of photos as objects. In a traditional film camera the point of taking a photo, at least for non-professionals, is to create a negative that will be used to make prints. The point of taking a digital photo is to generate a digital photo file. You can do a lot of things with that file, including some things that you can't do with a print. Photologs take advantage of the 'digitalness' of digital photography in their immediacy, their global reach and in the sheer volume of images they pump out. Is this what digital cameras were made for?

Feedback is encouraged.