It’s somewhere around 1985 and my first impressions of the still image are in the process of being formed. Slides are being projected onto an excitingly big white screen in the family living room.
Five year-old me loves these slideshows: the cinematic effect, the darkened room, the familiar faces. The first image is often upside down, causing much hilarity. My Grandma with her brilliant range of silly facial expressions, effectively inherited by my Dad; cute family dogs and cats; my young Mum’s first visit of Grandma’s corrugated iron shack on the wilds of Dartmoor.
I love the whirr and click of the projector as it sifts through the slides, the anticipation and the shared smiles and memories. Unlike expectations formed of slideshows in later life, there is no danger of a boring graph or intrusive advert.
These memories flashed back recently, when pondering the still frequently used word ‘slideshow’, and musing on the changes in times, words, media and meanings.
‘Video’ is now used to mean any moving image, although video tape is largely consigned to history. Film: 3D, HD, Pixar animations, The Hobbit film’s 48 frames per second. They are still ‘films’.
Books: ebooks are adopting more multimedia all the time; children’s books will blur even more with rich interactive apps on tablets. The medium is journeying to a distant place, frighteningly removed from its origins.
And photography too. Wildly distorted, surreally juxtaposed and photoshopped ‘photography’ is a far and distant cry from what was originally conceived by the word. Film and darkrooms might have even acquired retro cool and increased respect for those who practise, but for how much longer?
Our media and interpretations of their defining words are more fluid and forgettable than ever, but it’s worth remembering their birth, roots, their original traits and evolution. As well as experiences derived from the original media forefathers, where they steadily developed from.
Original words seemingly stick around for as long as the user experience stays roughly the same. Video is still moving pictures; photography is still er.. still pictures; books are likely not to really be books for much longer. Precisely how the media is created is less important.
Having said that, technologies like augmented reality, Google Glass and wearable technology are without much by way of precedent. Some new media and communication is virtually impossible to translate across time, especially when time and tech seems to be developing faster than ever.
Imagine travelling back a hundred years and trying to explain the now famous photo sharing Twitter activity of astronaut Chris Hadfield.
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