the great equalizer

the great equalizer

For most of my life I’ve been involved in musical creativity – making my own, and trying to be aware of what others are creating as well. Since the advent of the Internet and the general and inexpensive availability of computers and digital recording technology, I’ve noticed the ubiquitous adoption and employment of technology for the creation and production of music. It’s been somewhat of a great equalizer – making it possible for kids on shoestring budgets to create music in their parents’ basements that is nearly equal in sound quality to that which is produced by multi million dollar recording studios.

More recently, I’ve turned my creative energies toward the visual arts – photography, specifically. As with music, I try to be aware of what other people are creating and have been spending a lot of time in recent days on photography websites, looking at other peoples work, and trying to figure out how certain images were created. Not surprisingly, technology has apparently been a great equalizer in photography as well. Initially, I was flabbergasted by the quantity of amazing images that are so plentiful on the web. However, after looking at probably several thousand of them, my eyes are becoming fatigued to these unnaturally perfect images. So many people seem to have such a command of the technology – the digital SLR’s, and the Photoshop-type software production applications – yet, the images are all beginning to look alike. Similar to the music that’s generally available, it all sounds homogenized after a while, and I find myself craving a little something fresh – something with a little more passion, uniqueness and originality.

I hope those of you reading this who are also kind enough to listen to my music and look at my images won’t let me get away with that. I am afraid the temptation to emulate some of the stunning imagery that I’m looking it will get the better of me, and I’ll be off in pursuit of the magically manipulated landscape shot rather than a less perfect image that maybe still manages to convey a unique sense of perspective and reality. 

Or maybe not. I’ve long since grown tired of the homogenized, cookie-cutter music that floods the world. These days I’m only too happy to skip the platinum selling pablum and buy real music from comparatively little-known artists such as Kaipa, Lisa Donnelly and Laura Casale (to mention only a very few recent happy discoveries) – and I enthusiastically encourage you to do the same. If someone doesn’t make it possible for smaller artists to pay the rent and buy the groceries, we’ll eventually be banished to a purgatory of bland, mechanical sameness. 

I think my appetite for images is headed down that same road, only more quickly. I find myself thumbing through dozens of stunningly perfect sunsets in search of the passionate something… the quirky, the creative and the unique. They are rare but not completely absent. Maybe technology isn’t the great equalizer after all. In a world full of fast food restaurants, you just have to look a little bit more carefully for the great little side street bistro that only the locals know about…