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Dog Day Afternoons: Bits & Pieces (6)

Why shouldn’t the concept of authorship extend beyond the anthropocentric? Why can’t a monkey own the rights to his own selfie? Does the distinction between human and non-human production apply only to the animal kingdom, or does it extend to any method of generating images that does not involve direct human agency? What about images made by devices endowed with artificial intelligence? [...]

Happy Septaquintaquinquecentennial! (2)

Globally, there is now an enormous population of camera users, only a tiny fraction of which actually practices photography. The two functions, initially integral to each other, have been severed in what I can only suggest is the photographic equivalent of pre-frontal lobotomy. [...]

Happy Septaquintaquinquecentennial! (1)

Photographers on every level, from the rankest amateur to the most experienced professional, are being offered something that’s coming to be known generically as “decision-free photography.” I’m surely not the only one who finds this phrase unnerving. Decision-free information? Decision-free perception? Decision-free self-expression? Decision-free communication? By their nature, these cannot be decision-free — at best, the decisions they involve can be deferred, left in the hands of others. [...]

Spring Fever 2014: Bits & Pieces

The creation of this class of academic migrant workers — “paid an average of $2,000-$3,000 per class, with few to no benefits,” Arik Greenberg of PBS points out — profits the post-secondary education industry enormously, by making it a buyers’ market for teaching jobs as well as by ensuring that grateful, easily replaceable adjuncts aware of their precarious positions within that system will not likely rock the boat in any way. [...]

“Gremlyns of Light”: A Memoir

Photonic impaction, the problem with lenses created by the accumulation over time of stray photons, afflicts lens instruments other than cameras. While the problem is well-known among astronomers (related, perhaps, to the still-hypothetical photon belt), it does not occur ― save in rare cases ― in the field of microscopy. Simply put, lenses pointed up appear prone to impaction, while lenses pointed down generally do not. [...]