the thing about my photography project, or a project with subprojects because there’s different themes – that’s not insanity that’s just an accurate way to describe what’s going on. but that it is so enabled by the technology of cameras, of my cell phone, of all the cell phones I’ve had that I’ve done photography with, which has been an iphone 5, 6, and a 10. it’s been years that I’ve been doing this photography and it’s (probably hopefully) not going to stop. and I currently have an iphone 10. and it would not be possible without the phone, Apple also, but also the whole infrastructure of the internet, the electrical grid, and other peoples’ computers and phones to see it, just a whole infrastructure, decades of very hard work and development by lots of people, computer people and engineers, the foxconn factory, all of that enabled this to happen.
and so, this power of the camera phone is one that I have, but also everyone else who has a smartphone with a camera has as well. and so the question is, “what do we do with it?” or “what are we doing with it?” and this is what I ended up doing. I ended up taking a lot of pictures, I ended up taking a lot of pictures of flowers. I ended up taking a lot of pictures of flowers and plants and random things for some reason. I was very into that for some reason.
but to acknowledge that it was totally enabled by the technology and the times, for which I’m thankful.
I mean, this is what I did, and it was enabled by the technology of the times, and everyone else is doing their own things too, but this is what I did. I’m just a particular person, like, this is what I did with the power I had access to. With these phones we’ve all been given such a power, to communicate and to interact and to access information. to share and communicate information and to receive it. like, you can read the news on your phone. you have the internet on your phone. and so this is what I, in the totality of my life, have done with my phone. it’s kind of funny to me, but it’s just something amazing and beautiful maybe. it’s the most nonsense thing maybe, like what am I taking pictures of flowers for? like, I love it and I don’t know, it’s just the weirdest thing. and it was totally easy, totally painless to do. like just the upkeep on my phone, you just have to remember to charge it like once a day or every other day. compared to the work and effort and continuing power that it takes, running the coal mines that generate the energy to power the electrical grid, and how amazing to have a portable device like this that doesn’t need constant external wires, other than to charge, I think the iphone 10 has wireless charging actually but it has to be on top of something, like it has to be physically touching a charging plate, it doesn’t just charge in the air like some Nikola Tesla kind of thing.
and so it’s like, without my phone, without the iphone 10 in this case, I would not have been able to take any of these pictures. and I think that’s just a very important thing to acknowledge.
and so all of us who have smartphones, which is a lot of people, those of us, not everyone does, and even among smartphones, people have different models with better or worse cameras and other features. A camera is just one thing you can do with it. these are multifaceted devices. but like of the camera feature, this is what I did, of all the possibilities of what I could have taken pictures of. and like, I’m still kind of a mystery to myself in a lot of ways. like I try to understand myself as best I can. I’ve definitely tried to understand why I’m into what I’m into and why I’m about what I’m about,
it might be just that like, flowers are beautiful, so it makes sense that you’d want to notice and appreciate beautiful things. but what makes flowers beautiful? they’re different colors and (geometric) shapes basically? but also indicate something about a cycle of life, the flower serving a role for the plant as a whole.
to be granted in some sense, the power of this technology, of these devices, by being alive in this era, and it’s like, of all the things you can use it for, whatever it is, and this is what I did. I kind of did it on purpose and I kind of didn’t, like sort of intentionally but also kind of compulsively. it just is who I am, it’s what I am, it’s what I’m about.
but just that like these devices are powerful objects that we have all been granted, or, those of us who have them, me included. and that this is what I ended up doing with it. and we can use them in all these different ways, and this is what I ended up doing, taking a bunch of pictures of flowers. and it was just one thing that could have been done with the camera feature, which is just one feature of the phone. this whole thing is so enabled by technology and like, this is what I did.
I’m still a mystery to myself in a lot of ways, but like, this is what I did though. through a combination of effort and noneffort, through trying and not trying, being attracted to something, doing things sometimes compulsively or automatically. just what gave me peace of mind as an activity. like, taking the pictures themselves, as a process of being a photographer, doing photography. and looking at the pictures later was also comforting. and the reason to share this, beyond just letting you know what I’ve done and where my mind is at with why I did it, is that perspective to think about what you are using your phone for and what you could be doing with it, but also what phones can be used for in general, and appreciating their power because it’s a real power, to document the world but also communicate and receive information / learn.
this wasn’t the only thing I did with my phone, but it definitely was one thing I did.
I don’t know if the evolutionary note got captured so far (note- this is a transcription of a voice memo), but basically I’ve tried to know myself and understand myself, in terms of who I am as an individual as well as humanity in general of which I am a part. to understand human evolution but also human psychology to understand myself as well as understand other people. and just like, flowers in particular, they’re bright colors, many colors, they are geometrically interesting, they have different shapes, and similar enough to be something you can see and recognize, but different enough to be unique and exciting when you see a new one.
but back again to the topic of convenience, it’s like, this is just the environment I was born into, this is just the situation I was thrown into. like, I live in a world where people plant flowers. or, people let flowers grow. so I’m living in an environment where there are a certain number of flowers. there are some places in the world where there are none and some places in the world where there are a ton. and so, wherever Berkeley fits in on the axis of having a lot of flowers or not, there were a lot of them or at least enough from my perspective, to take pictures of, in my opinion.
so it’s like, the environment I was in and the power I was granted by having a phone. to have a camera. I’ve taken pictures with so called “actual cameras” but the convenience of the camera phone is amazing and I actually prefer it. this also wouldn’t be possible without a computer either. I mean, it could be done without a computer but it’s a lot easier here in 2020 to do some of these things with a computer. so that’s on that topic of “this was the easiest thing for me to do” in some sense. like maybe also this was the only thing I could have done. I basically did… there was no alternative to what I did in some sense. like all the alternatives wouldn’t have made as much sense as what I did. what I did makes the most sense to me basically. I’m a person who doesn’t like to do a lot of work, you know? it’s not laziness, it’s just knowing that cosmically nothing matters and so it’s always just the moment and what you’re doing. and I’m not lazy in the sense of doing nothing, because sometimes it’s more agonizing to “sit and do nothing” than to do something. sometimes the easiest thing to do is to do something, you know?
and like, this is just the world I was born into, this is just the technology that I have, it’s my phone, so I’m using it. so it’s like, what did I use it for? I used it to take pictures of flowers and random things. that’s just me, that’s just what I did. why did I do it? why is that the case? I’ve tried to understand, I’ve tried to know why. maybe I’ve already found the answer. sometimes maybe even when you’ve found the answer you can still keep looking, which is interesting that that would be possible at all. but what if it really is that like yeah, flowers are colorful and interesting shapes, and humans like colors and interesting shapes. it’s simple and there’s no need to find some deeper meaning in it. of course the ultimate meaning or something is still a mystery so it seems. and that would be the spiritual or metaphysical component of this project.
like, that a phone is a power and you’ve been granted it in some sense. even if you bought it, if this was the year 1800 you could not buy an iphone, it just would be impossible. and here in 2020, you need a certain amount of money or informational access to get one, like how to pay $20 / month for it. I mean, maybe the bar is very low. maybe you can get an iphone for free almost at this moment in history it seems. but also you don’t need an iphone specifically, you don’t even need a phone, you can just use a camera! if you don’t have a camera though, you can’t take pictures. you could draw pictures though. do whatever you can do. whatever you’ve got the ability to do, do it, if you know what I’m saying.
so I had an iphone. and that’s a power, that’s a tool. and the deeper more metaphysical or metaphorical level of meaning is that our bodies are tools, and our minds, our consciousnesses, here we are granted this power of a body and a mind, potentially the mind, maybe the mind is what we are or maybe it’s what we have, maybe it’s a “gift” and if so, to whom? like, who are we? but at the very least, our bodies, it seems, are tools of the mind, like our consciousnesses are “driving” our bodies and so it’s like, what are we doing with our bodies? what do we do with our lives? that’s the question.
like, the camera is a subset of the iphone, and the iphone is a subset of all the tools I have available to use. but all the tools I have available are utilized by my body, but my body is a tool of my mind, and so it’s like, what did I do with my mind? it goes the whole chain back down again. I used my mind to take pictures of flowers. and that’s just what I did. so…