It is ironic to me, amazingly even, that I am writing a reflection paper on filters being as I don’t have one. Incidentally, I was born without one. It’s a scientific medical condition, look it up. Also, being a person that has never really used Instagram, and rarely, if ever, uses Snapchat, it was interesting to find an entire chapter dedicated to the comparison of filtering photos to technology filtering every day life. And coming to think of it, there are certain times in life that I wish I had such a filter attached to my glasses. Earlier tonight at Wal-Mart, in fact, this would have come in mighty handy.
The deeper I read into the article, the more I realized that this was starting to become a metaphor for the way we perceive things in general. We do take filtering for granted. And I am not talking about my inability to stop certain things from coming our of my big mouth, or the shitty flavor of the coffee at the gas station on my way to school, but the cultural filters that define us. Norms and moreys and that of the like, and these cultural filters, in my humble opinion, can be far more important than the technological ones. We filter everything, a lot of times without even noticing that we are doing it. Meaning, it seems these days everything is sugar coated, and instead of filtering in the traditional sense that we take something away, or remove it, we are now adding it.
We filter our behavior, some more than others, and as I mentioned before I am an extreme example of the latter, we are even being filtered by social media. Twitter limits the umber of characters one can “tweet” at a time, effectively eliminating long winded posts, one of the reasons I would never fit into that scene, and Facebook is now filtering our newsfeed using different algorithms to show us what they think we want to see. How does Facebook know that I am sick of seeing people post about how long they have been clean from meth? I don’t know, but I am glad it does.
One thing I found interesting, was that a lot of journalists have set down their expensive cameras in place of the smart phone from their own pockets to capture pictures so that they, you guessed it, can filter them before they get to us. I, for one, am grateful for this, but it would seem that some people have themselves convinced that this type of filtering is taking away from the inherent “realism” of the whole thing. I disagree. Because, like this 12 page article dictated, things of that nature are what is real these days. Photo filters, I believe was said, is a cultural phenomenon, and photography, in its purest form, is just a manipulated interaction between style and substance (just like me) and maybe that’s how I like it. My girlfriend is a photographer so maybe I am a little biased, but art and beauty alike are subjective, so if a photographer filters a photo before it gets to me, the implication, as I see it, is that is how it is supposed to be. That is real enough, is it not?
Everything is beautiful to someone, just like the converse is true, everything is ugly to someone as well. The writer referred to the technique of art as making things unfamiliar, so filtering seems like as dandy a way to unfamiliarize something as I can think of, although that isn’t exactly the way that I would describe the technique or art, per se, but what do I know?