A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


Death By PowerPoint & One Of Jason Bryden
Thursday, September 06, 2007

Thanks to a dead computer I started and finished a couple of nights ago Argentine writer Guillermo Orsi's Buscadores de Oro. It would seem that my former heavy reading habits had been affected by too much time with the computer, or scanning or, in the case of the blog, going through my hard copy (filing cabinets) of negatives and slides to find suitable material. With a dead computer (ditto the scanner) I can only continue here with photographs that are lodged within the innards of my "decaying orbit" hard drive. My only satisfaction is that Arthur C. Clarke must experience the same problem, a just punishment of sorts for his far-reaching invention (the geosynchronous satellite).

Which brings me to one of William Safire's NY Times On Language columns where a couple of years ago he was describing his terrible ordeal of being in a darkened room while a lecturer read out loud everything on his projected PowerPoint presentation. Death by PowerPoint Safire called it. About as perfect a description of that ordeal that I, too, have lived (and almost died) through.

High technology does not guarantee excitement. I remember (so fondly) being on board a Pan American Airways Lockheed Constellation (not the Super, natch) eating a rare roast beef with delicate dishware, metal silverware and crisp linen napkins while having white wine poured by a beautiful (and young) stewardess. No amount of drop down TV monitors or the availability of individual screens with 378 cable channels can make flying feel anything more than being on a crowded bus with wings. And more so when the stewardess is a flight attendant that looks like the about-to-retire production manager at a Warner's Bra factory.

The above should be enough explanation for the relevance of today's picture. Actor, playwright, comedian, etc, Jason Bryden walked exhausted into my studio one late Tuesday night. He had been making a film all day. He looked gone. But the Georgia Straight had indicated that I needed to snap his portrait on that evening to be immediately scanned and sent the next day for that week's paper. I resolved that Bryden would leave quickly and so would I. I got my camera ready, gave him some instructions and took this one Polaroid. "Do you like it?" I asked him. "I do,"he replied. We locked up and we left.

That the relatively old technology (Edwin Land would chastise me or would he for this?) of a lowly b+w Polaroid combined with the wonders of PhotoShop and a scanner could produce this result, a thing of beauty and wonder for me, is amazing. Even if Jason Bryden looks like he's gone.


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