Imagine an always-on 360 degree HD wearable video camera. With a constant feed of all that she might see, the photographer is freed from instant reaction to the Decisive Moment, and then only faced with the Decisive Area to be in, and perhaps the Decisive Angle. Evolve this further into a networked grid of such cameras, and the photographer is freed from those decisions as well, and is then merely a curator of reality after the fact. Any ”live” input would consist of a “flag” button the photographer presses when she thinks a moment stands out, much like is already used in recording high-speed footage. The grid might not even be traditionally photographic, rather more like a 3D LIDAR array. A primitive test of this has already been used artistically in Radiohead’s 2008 video for “House of Cards.”
None of this is science fiction. Artists are already commandeering Google Street View to hijack omniscient eyes for their own expression. Nick Knight has been using 3D scanners for fashion work for over a decade. In less time than it took me to originally learn and master film and darkroom technique at the beginning of my career I’ve seen digital tools transition from massively expensive and low-resolution to ubiquitously cheap and high-resolution.
It’s taken over 165 years for photography to truly fulfill its promise to be the ultimate democratic art. I’m thrilled to be alive to see it.