Few people think more than two or three times a year; I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week.And in his Guardian column Cory Doctorow explains why the instant feedback of digital photography has improved our collective picture taking abilities to the point where we artificially degrade our pictures to make them seem more authentic.
I think these thoughts come together for me when I advocate getting hands on and giving building your own website, blogging or programming a go. I'm convinced getting involved, the getting of hands dirty is important for success. Next on my reading list is Program or be Programmed by Douglas Rushkoff, it sounds like it will explore why you should be elbow deep yourself and not commission others to do your thinking for you.To understand why, think of the old days of film cameras. In those days, most families shot one or two rolls of film a year – one on the family vacation and one though Christmas and birthdays, more or less. You'd send the film off to the lab for photo processing, sometimes months after the exposures were shot, and you'd get back your pictures. Most would be mediocre, some would be terrible, and a few would be wonderful. But unless you went to extraordinary lengths to record the circumstances of each shot, you would almost certainly have no idea what you did to make the good ones good and the bad ones bad.Without that vital knowledge about causes and effects, it is impossible to improve at any task. The easiest way to cultivate a knowledge of cause and effect is to move the two closer together. When digital cameras arrived on the scene, they were inferior to film cameras in many ways, but they had an immediacy that film cameras had never managed. Even "instant" Polaroid cameras couldn't compare with the feedback that digital cameras gave.