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In the book "On Photography", Susan Sontag explores the obsession of image making and all of its cultural, societal and personal advantages and complications.
"Needing to have reality confirmed and experience enhanced by photograph is an aesthetic consumerism to which everyone is now addicted. Industrial societies turn their citizens into image junkies," she writes in the early 1970s. "Ultimately, to have an experience becomes identical to taking a photograph of it, and participating in a public event becomes more and more equivalent to looking at it in photographed form."
This is chillingly prophetic of today's society, where the digital camera has changed image making and Facebook satisfies us "image-junkies" with newsfeeds filled with nonsensical and everyday images as banal as what your friend had for lunch. A camera is even a standard requirement for cell phones.
Is this terrible? Is the iPhone a tool of distraction and vanity? Or can it be used as an artistic tool, becoming an authentic and accessible type of photography?
Holly Parotti's "This is Not a Fairytale", which opens this Thursday, June 16, at Popop Studios, explores this new form of media, opening our eyes and minds not only to the poignancy of their subject matter, but the technological process behind their capture, which all happens with one tool: the iPhone.
"I think all of the phenomenon revolving around how we have become so engrossed in the digital personalities that we've developed within ourselves, this is how I got into recognizing the influence that you have with these devices," Parotti says. "You can be tracked by satellite wherever you are. Nothing's a secret anymore. And I realized how good of a camera it was, the quality of images it took, and I researched the iPhone and what's out there with all the applications."
iPhoneography -- the art of taking pictures with an iPhone rather than with film or a high quality digital camera -- has gained a sizable following since the phone's launch. With a variety of filters and settings available for purchase from Apple, including applications that make the digital print appear "vintage" or worn, the iPhone has transformed the photography industry. We thought digital cameras made photography the most accessible and easy it could be -- but Apple proved us wrong once again.
For many users, the appeal stems from taking perfect aim-and-shoot images without the messiness of film loading and self-development, the knowledge of aperture or F-Stops, the changing of physical lenses or cameras themselves and the challenges of Photoshop.
"Photography is not only an art form but a science. I know that because I signed up for photography in school and I withdrew the first day because they started talking about the F-stops and the chemistry and I knew it was something I could mess up in a heartbeat," Parotti says. "I've always had a camera and I've noticed my images throughout the years have always been abstract or personal; it's just that now industry has tailor-made it so that it is available to any and every one. The difference is the person who is pressing the button."
Indeed, iPhoneography -- like all new developments that modernize our way of thinking and interacting with the world -- has already been branded as "cheating" or not an "authentic" art form. After all, it commodifies photography as an art even further -- want a Polaroid? There's an app for that. Want a grainy, high-contrast black and white image? There's an app for that. Want a panorama? There's an app for that, too. While many formally trained photographers ignore the development in their field, viewers of such images may say with disdain -- as many abstract artists may have heard before when they introduced their pieces that are radically different from realist works -- "I could do that."
But that argument, as Parotti points out, overlooks the individuality of the person behind the lens.
"Well it's the choice to do it. When someone says, 'I can do that', my reaction to them is, 'Go right ahead, please. I welcome the moment to see your product, or how you translate this image into another two-dimensional format'," she says. "You put ten artists in a room drawing the same model, you're going to have ten completely different images. The only thing tying them together is any distinguishing mark on the model itself. It's about the individuality of the persons behind the device."
One could also argue that the accessibility that iPhone and its apps provide, while producing a lot of rubbish, makes for great artistic gems in the right hands. For Parotti, the device has allowed her to explore a new medium for her artistic practice that had previously been inaccessible to her. Formally trained as a printmaker, those who know her work have seen her transition slowly into digital media, producing such movies as "90%" (featured in The Hub's show for Transforming Spaces 2010) and "Breathe" (featured in Popop's show for Transforming Spaces 2011).
"I'm very uncomfortable with the appropriate traditional terms like film, photograph, etc. I'm not trained in any of those things," Parotti -- who also admits she's '"a bit of a gadget person" -- says. "But I had this idea or challenge for myself to take a more compelling approach to my work because I had been working in two-dimensional all of my career though university. I challenged myself not to see if I could do it, because I knew I could do it, but I wanted to see what the outcome would be."
"This is not a Fairytale" presents a compelling selection of that outcome. These digital images (as Parotti emphasizes they are not photographs) provide windows into the more overlooked blink-and-you'll-miss them moments. One may recognize those moments that pass you by as you wish you had a camera, yet even if you did, you may not capture it the way you visualize or remember it because of your lack of photography knowledge or equipment -- but Parotti is able to.
"The images are accessible, it's everything that everyone sees, it's nothing that I have staged, it's just walking along and this particular grouping of safety cones are sitting there and they look so very odd next to each other, and that to me was interesting," she explains.
Language is also very much part of this body of work as well, for a show to be named "This is Not a Fairytale" itself requires a story. Yet each digital image itself is a story, their titles opening up worlds within each window. Each shot is something the viewer recognizes, for they have already glimpsed and forgotten those fleeting yet vastly emotional moments found in everyday objects that sit quietly in wait for someone to hold their gaze. Parotti does this beautifully, plucking them directly from our everyday and finding their narrative, giving them humanity.
"Language is definitely important in my work. It's not what you say, but how you say it that is most intriguing to me," she says. "You can have a title that has absolutely everything to do with an image, but based on the way the words are arranged, it can have absolutely nothing to do with the image too. It's a part of the process for me. It's also about communication, and what can get lost in communication if not used correctly."
The result is a collection of overwhelming poignancy, each petit frame reminding us of the stories of objects we live and interact with daily, yet often take for granted. They hold not only our stories, but also the stories of the objects themselves -- what are the fallen petals of bougainvillea whispering to the severed blades of grass? Does the older, dilapidated traffic cone feel jealousy next to its new, shiny counterpart? What unspeakable act has the unused chair in the corner seen? We can only begin to imagine as we string together the narrative of the show that holds -- just like our modern day perception of fairytales -- through the gauze of its dreamy surface, hardened edges.
Though the results are compelling, overall, Parotti points out, the process holds the most importance to her.
"I'm not going to sit here and say oh you know, this is something that I sat down and had this grand scheme to create a whole bunch of photographs," she explains. "No, this was all about me purchasing this iPhone, learning what it could do, having opportunities to take images of things that are compelling to me and then presenting them in a conceptual field with other photographs."
After all, how ironic is it that these digital images from a device that was invented to make it easier for users to specifically snap and upload their images to the computer without bothering with tangibility are actually printed out and framed professionally for a formal gallery setting? And how ironic is it that this tool, the iPhone, a device blamed for distraction in modern society, is in this instance being used for meditation?
In the end, these two states are two sides of the same shared coin. Within distraction, this litany of image making, can be found a meditation, a promise to look thoughtfully within through outward gazing and consciousness. As they pass from image to image in this exhibition, viewers will enter that hypnotic space as well, and perhaps become so lost that they forget about authenticity in image making devices, preferring instead that clear open-mindedness of possibility.
"This is Not a Fairytale" opens Thursday June 16 at 6:30 at Popop Studios and will be on display until June 24th.
The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) is still searching for ways to fund a comprehensive closed circuit television (CCTV) system, and the timeline for its installation remains unclear.
Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage revealed that the government is looking for ways to find the project.
"For the contract to be completed, it requires approximately $4 million. I am not sure if the approved firms have received it or not, but we are presently seeking funding for that," he shared.
He also revealed that there have been several meetings to discuss the project's financing.
The minister was equally vague on the progress to bring the system online. While Nottage assured Guardian Business that the CCTV network will be implemented, he remained tight-lipped as to when exactly it will take place.
Derek Farquharson, the president and managing director of Lowe's Security, initially said the first phase's mobilization date was set for May 1.
"The first set of equipment should arrive by the end of June for field testing to be conducted. Deployment is expected to take place by mid-July. Cameras will go live by the end of July. The project is expected to be completed by September," he added.
The apparent uncertainty on the CCTV project comes as crime in the capital remains at an all-time high. This week, a shooting at a nightclub near the foot of the Paradise Island bridge only fueled the level of outrage concerning the country's already high murder rate.
Last month, the Free National Movement (FNM) administration signed a $4.6 million contract to supply key areas throughout New Providence with a comprehensive CCTV network.
"The contract is valued at $4,669,809 and will be placed firstly from St. Alban's Drive in the west, to Mackey Street in the east, and covering areas at least one mile south of Bay Street," according to Tommy Turnquest, former national security minister.
During last month's contract signing, Turnquest announced that Lowe's Security Limited, Avrio RMS Group and Security Centres International would all take part in the first phase of the project. In that phase, a total of 243 cameras will be strategically deployed throughout the capital.
"Additionally, cameras will be strategically located in other areas on the island and will focus on high crime areas and 'hot spots', giving police officers additional eyes to monitor, prevent and detect crimes," Turnquest noted.
The $4.6 million CCTV contract is just one of the ongoing capital expenditure commitments and "legacy of contracts" entered into in the final days of the former administration. In yesterday's Budget Communication, Prime Minister Perry Christie pledged to end such practices.
"As we stated in the Speech from the Throne, we will table legislation to prevent the entering into of government contracts, including contracts of employment, or the payment of public monies therewith, between the date of dissolution of Parliament and the date of a general election, unless such contracts or payments are pre-determined by an independent statutory body to be absolutely essential for the maintenance of essential services," Christie added.
The new Quality Home Centre on Carmichael Road has invested six-figures into security for the upcoming Christmas season, Guardian Business can reveal, as crime tops the list of concerns of the mega mart.
By DEIDRE M. BASTIAN
HELP. I am trying to e-mail some JPEG pictures I just took with my new digital camera, but I keep getting a message that says "the file size is too large". Sounds familiar?
Better still, you land on a web page with a gigantic picture. You really want to see the whole thing but, alas, it seems the only way to view it is to use your scroll bars. Sure, you could buy a bigger monitor, better video card, then crank up your resolution, but there's just got to be a cheaper way, right? You bet.
Digital cameras, including phone cameras, have truly come into their own. Millions of people now take pictures and save them to their computers. From there, photos can easily ...
The government is expected to announce the successor to Her Majesty's Prisons Superintendent Dr. Elliston Rahming within a month, Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage said.
Nottage said he is combing through applications for the prison post but declined to say how many people are being considered for the job.
"A lot of people are interested in the position, both inside and out [of the prison]," he told The Nassau Guardian last week. "I've received quite a few letters from people who are current officers in the prison at many levels and I've received calls from former police officers, defence force officers and other persons who have an interest.
"The decision wouldn't be my personal decision. It would be a decision of the government and it will be made before Mr. Rahming's time is complete. I don't know when he's supposed to leave but I do know that once someone is nominated, it takes a while, maybe two or three months for the matter to be cleared with the country to which they are going.
"But I'm not suggesting that it will be that long because someone who is going away as a diplomat has to spend some time with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs being prepared for their posting."
Rahming has been chosen as the country's new ambassador to the United States and permanent representative to the Organization of American States (OAS).
"I am gratified yet humbled by my appointment," Rahming said last week at a ceremony announcing his new post.
"Indeed, the thought that a former shoe shine boy, a former peanut boy who came by way of Black Point, South Andros... could stand here today in this capacity, represents the truism that with God's grace, hard work and a little bit of luck, the sky is not the limit in our Bahamas."
Nottage also gave an update on the status of the country's closed circuit television system. He said he expected CCTV cameras to be mounted in areas troubled by crime by June.
"We committed ourselves to CCTV, we haven't been able to get it installed before December as I had hoped but we did have some testing last week of the first camera that was put up on Bay Street, and we hope to be able to have the full installation of the CCTV project within the first six months of this year.
"Those cameras will be mainly located in what we call the hot spots and I think that will give us some additional tools to use in reducing crime."
It would be a gamble for police to take any action on web shops while the matter is still before the courts, attorney Wayne Munroe has warned.
Munroe, who represents six web shops, was responding to statements made by Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade last week.
Greenslade warned web shop gamblers and operators to "obey the law" and stop gambling as police can turn up at "any time" to make arrests.
Munroe said he has no problem with the police carrying out investigations, but added that the police have to be careful not to act outside the law when doing so.
"If they were to do something while issues are before the court it [would be] a gamble," he said.
"When you gamble, some games of chance are improved by the exercise of skill, but fundamentally they are games of chance and while you are in litigation, it's a gamble."
Greenslade said when the police determine that it is appropriate to take a course of action, they will.
"But I could assure you if there is illegal activity taking place I would suggest that those persons who are a part of it should pay attention," he said.
"We can turn up at any time."
Munroe said if the police act irresponsibly, then the victim has a right to take action.
"Unlike some people, I'm not going to presume to tell [the commissioner] how to do his job," Munroe said.
"No doubt he'll be taking advice. But the most perplexing thing for us is if he acts then of course we will catch it on the CCTV cameras that are in these institutions, we'll memorialize it for evidence and no doubt it will feature in the case.
"But we take no issue with [the commissioner's] statements. He says what's on his mind. He takes a position and he has been consistent with it.
"If indeed something happens that we say is improper there is a remedy for us. Whether it would be adequate or not for us is a different issue."
Asked if he is concerned that the police may raid the web shops, Munroe said, "My position is this, we have to be prepared for what happens.
"The police will do what the police will do and once they've done it, as I said, most of these establishments have CCTV cameras, so it would be caught on camera.
"No doubt in this age of technology it will be recorded on people's cell phones, video recorders...So if police are belligerent and don't do their duty or act bizarrely then it will be captured.
"The police have the ability to [go anywhere] to investigate so nobody is saying they should not do their job. They will take advice and they will do what they intend to do. I don't intend to tell the commissioner of police how to do his job."
Munroe represents Percy Web Cafe, Island Luck, FML Group of Companies, Asue Draw, Whatfall and Chances.
Those web shops are appealing Chief Justice Sir Michael Barnett's decision to discharge a conservatory order that prevented web shops from police interference.
Paradise Games, which is represented by Alfred Sears, is also appealing that decision.
The case will be heard on May 24.
Both Munroe and Sears charged in their appeals that Sir Michael erred in his judgment.
The web shop operators took court action after a failed gambling referendum on January 28.
Cable Beach Resort Association (CBRA) Announces Completion of State-of-the-Art Security System for the Cable Beach Resort Area
NASSAU, Bahamas - The Cable Beach Resort Association (CBRA) announced today the
completion of the installation of a comprehensive Closed Circuit Television
(CCTV) system, including high-tech security cameras, along the entire Cable
Beach resort area. The CCTV system was put in place as a private sector
initiative to support law enforcement in the prevention of crime in the area.
CBRA Chairman, Richard English,
stated, "The cameras have been installed across a wide area, with
intersecting coverage that will be monitored 24/7 by the local Cable Beach
Police Station using a state-of-the-art wireless system, with the CCTV screens
in the Police Station to be monitored continuously." In addition to
recording all activity in the coverage area, the system will also serve as a
useful tool in solving crimes.
The new security system's
coverage area will be concentrated in and around the Wyndham Nassau Resort,
Crystal Palace Casino and Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort...
The government may have to invest another $1 million on the closed circuit television (CCTV) system, National Security Minister Dr. Bernard Nottage revealed earlier this week. "A lot of money has been invested in CCTV which is not fully installed," Nottage told reporters on Wednesday.
A string of copper robberies In Grand Bahama has left hundreds of Bahamians without phone and internet service and created a three-mile mobile blackout zone.
Using pick-up trucks and other heavy equipment, thieves ripped up cables from the ground in different areas of the island, costing the Bahamas Telecommunications Company at least $50,000.
More important than the price tag, residents continue to be impacted by the work of copper bandits.
"It really is frustrating for us," said Michael Laing, senior manager for operations in Grand Bahama.
"It's impossible for us to monitor all of these areas. And it's impacting our customers, because we want to provide the best service, and here these guys come again."
Copper theft has been a common problem for many islands in The Bahamas.
In Grand Bahama, the BTC executive said the problem seemed to go away at the end of the summer last year. Around that time, the previous government instituted a 90-day ban on metal exports and a permanent ban on cooper.
Guardian Business was unable to reach Kenred Dorsett, the minister of the environment and housing, before press time.
In this latest spat of robberies, Laing said thieves hit a cell phone station in Lucayan Estates just off Grand Bahama Highway. Another incident occurred a couple days later at the "Old Movie Studio" site.
Fortune Cay, Midshipman, Maurice Moore and the Ocean Side Triangle were also hit, according to BTC, causing full or partial disruption to more than 400 customers.
The BTC executive said some service has been restored, but other areas have yet to get online. The problem is not necessarily resources, he told Guardian Business, but fear that if the copper is replaced, thieves will simply come back for another round.
"We are rethinking how to protect these areas. We intend to put some cameras up, but the problem is there are so many isolated areas," he explained.
In fact, Laing estimated there are more than 400 BTC stations in Grand Bahama. Despite fencing around the perimeter of these stations, the thieves are known for cutting through or simply smashing the barriers. Added to the cost of replacing the equipment, he said, will be upping security.
"Putting cameras up is another expenditure. That is every site, and that costs tens of thousands," he said.
At least 300 Bahamians have no access to land line or fixed line broadband services. Additionally, he said there is an area encompassing approximately three miles that is now in blackout to all cell phone services.
"With regards to wireless operations, anyone traveling east, they cannot use it in those effected aras, going towards Gold Rock Creek," he said.
The BTC executive did not place a specific timeframe on when full service will be restored. He added that BTC is now working with the police force, and a press conference is planned to help shed light on the incidents.
Jerome Sawyer, BTC's senior manager in charge of public relations, agreed that repairing the damage is not an overnight fix. In some cases, third-party involvement is needed to get some of the issues resolved.
"We are appealing to anyone who may have information on these incidents to come forward," Sawyer said. "If at any time you see suspicious activity at any of the BTC sites, please report it to police because any resulting disruption in service affects you personally."