BlackBerry's new camera is trying to change, once again, what photography's all about.
At the BlackBerry World conference yesterday, RIM's Vivek Bhardwaj introduced a new camera being developed for the company's new product, the BlackBerry 10 -- one that allows users to detect faces and scroll through frames of the images themselves. "We actually let you go back and forth in time," Bhardwaj said. Instead of missing a crucial instant -- instant-missing being a frustrating mainstay of photography both analog and digital -- RIM's new technology will allow photographers to capture "that perfect moment."
Which: whoa. On the one hand, this is a fantastic innovation, one that could bring a deserved death blow to those group shots showing five people who are smiling charmingly and two who seem to be red-eyed/cross-eyed/drooling.
On the other hand, though, a camera like this -- one that produces images that aren't actually photos in the traditional sense, but rather a tenuous collection of digital composites -- could also represent yet another death blow to what we think of as photography in the first place. Consider, for just a Sontagian second, what a photograph is all about. At core, it's a record of a single moment in time. It doesn't just represent an instant; it captures it. ("Photographs," Sontag says, "furnish evidence.") Which is another way of saying that photos are defined as much by time as by space. As objects, they transport a particular piece of the past into the insistence of the present.