MAY YOU LIVE IN INTERESTING TIMES

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This old saying can be taken as a blessing or a curse, and its origins may be Yiddish or ancient Chinese, but if you are into digital photography the next few years may well be interesting times. Two pieces of news today are indicative of changes ahead. One is relative to my blog post recently about being connected. Apparently the FCC chairman Kevin Martin, a lightening rod of controversy is reported to have backed down on taking a Commission vote on a dubious proposal to auction vacant airwaves to provide a “free” broadband connection capability. Now of course making broadband internet connection more widely available everyone can afford is laudable on the outset; but some of the provisions and the way the proposal was worded in detail gives great pause that public benefit really was the goal of what Martin wanted the FCC to approve.

Regardless, two very powerful members of Congress, Senator John D. Rockeffeler and Congressman Henry Waxman apparently convinced Martin, besides all kind of objections by the communications industry, to not go ahead with a Commission vote. This would allow the next Congress in January to take up the issues involved with hopefully fewer strings and limitations, and more benefit to the people in extending broadband internet access. It would be an encouraging advantage to computer users and digital photography in general to have a wider participation in broadband internet connection, and on so many fronts it is hard to imagine all of the positive activity that could result. On-line photo print services alone could look to a much larger population of potential customers. Individual users could keep their computer systems current with the latest operating system and applications upgrades with much faster downloads than dial-up allows.Almost everyone I can imagine would find a different possibility and advantage.

The other piece of news is that the Obama transition team has had a substantive meeting with the PPofA and The Copyright Alliance, and it seems the new administration will be looking at copyright and intellectual property rights very much with the creative community in mind to engender an environment that protects and encourages creative production. So it looks like my hope that the economic stimulus that is in the works could very well have a photographic element of some kind. All I can wish is that although these times are surely different from the 30’s it would be such an encouraging reversal of ideology if photography could be again be done with official sanction and support at a public level. I am sure the perspective and aesthetics would be new and distinct, but that we could have more like Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange of this generation contributing to a public art culture could be so encouraging. It makes me remember how exciting and uplifting it was to see the Family Of Man photography exhibit that travelled around the country in the 50’s. That exhibit made so many people aware of photographs in a significant way even if not the least interested in photography.

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