October 3, 2006
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Camera Notes

For several years, I traveled without a camera. I brought along a sketchbook and some watercolor, and when I wanted an image I sat down and spent an hour looking at whatever it was I wanted to remember. I almost never look at my travel sketches, but I remember making them: it's a good way to see. The Victorians were right about some things: learning to draw is useful, and it's not really important to draw well.

But those hours of sketching aren't popular with fellow travelers, and they aren't much help for the Web, and so I've taken to carrying a camera again. Or, on this trip, I've taken to not carrying a camera. I've been not carrying a camera for days now, ever since I forgot to carry it away from that café in Bowral.

I particularly miss having fifty or so snapshots every day as a trigger for writing. And I've found that not having either a camera or a sketchbook to hand leads to a different and more discursive way of looking. I've spent a lot of time seeing the beautiful Sydney harbor and working out exactly what I'd like to build in the next year or two. I've got some wild ideas; I think you'll see some of them soon.

This is, I think, not a better practice, or worse: merely different. Small changes in media change our approach -- but I'm not convinced that those changes are determined by the media we're carrying around. The medium was never them message.