I often wonder what Charles Dickens would have thought of the internet. “Quite useless.” I should imagine, as Victorian England had no electricity, laptops, or Facebook. Of course they did have Indians calling at the door trying to get the householders to give out their banking passwords but then that has been common since the Iron Age. Many of the callers said they were from Brisbane, and quite possibly they were.
Despite lacking a computer, Dickens blogged. He let out his thoughts, cleverly disguised as sentimental tales, in little instalments each month. Actually it might have been weekly, though that would have involved his heroes and heroines in a pretty frantic round of disasters and rescues. In no time at all they would have worn out their little dorrits.
What a pity he did not share Dodgson’s interest in photography at the time. He could have told us how many seconds to give as exposure – how long to sensitize the collodion plate – the comparative statistics between a Petzval Superba and a Dallmeyer Imperial Dominator. He could have engaged in flame wars with Princess Alexandria and G. Bernard Shaw. Or real wars with Palmerston.
Instead we got rosy-cheeked urchins being thrown into the snow by dastards and last minute conversions to virtue. I think I would have preferred the f stops to the treacle but in the end at least he did contribute one useful phrase to photography: The Artful Dodger.
I have just discovered that one can do this in digital just as easily as one could in the old enlarger days, and with results that are just as tasteless. The stylus or mouse is used to push the representation of a brush around the image and in its wake everything goes lighter. With the proper command (this would appear to be “ Sit,Sir! Now roll over and die for the Queen!”)this area of lightness can be made to follow the contour of an edge. The subject now goes from unacceptably dark to hideously light and all you need to do are 25 more commands and layers to bring it back to where it first started. At least in the old days one could take out one’s frustration while dodging by flailing away at the paper with the dodging wand and cursing.
I think I will adopt Tiny Tim’s motto” God Bless Us Every One” – except after I type it I intend to press Shift-Command-I....
Labels: Camera Electronic