The Enabling Technology for this Site
Digital point-and-shoot, cell phone, and GoPro cameras enable — and are actually critical to the success of — The Facebook [I way prefer The Original name] and other social media outlets. [“Outlet” is a peculiar attachment until you consider that social media is a major outlet for all kinds of self-concept testing self-agrandizement, and self-promotion.] No one would read the stuff that’s written there if it weren’t for the accompanying pictures of cute kittens, children’s behavior, and childish behavior including reckless folly. The outlet needs its accompanying photos.
Although not often [ever?] recognized, another major contribution of modern digital cameras has been to enable public bathroom photography and establish the need for content guidelines.
In the past, entering a bathroom carrying a large 35mm SLR camera was probably asking for trouble — or at least a few questions. Entering today, while talking to a cell phone transforms ones image from that of pervert to that of harried business executive whose world demands constant contact. However, the possibility that you actually are a cellphone-carrying-pervert certainly exists. Technology enables both good and evil. So we have one rule for content: no people in our photos. We may allow the occasional cute kitten, if we encounter one.
Not to diminish in any way the skill and care required to capture photographs like the ones published here, but modern cameras have also relieved the photographer of many major technical burdens, allowing him to concentrate [focus?] on the subject.
While the fly captured in the photo above happens to be an image permanently glazed to a urinal in Spain, point-and-shoot has given us the speed to capture a real fly, had one momentarily posed for us. We have an amazing tool available for our use.
Tools are only valuable when used for a valuable purpose. Our purpose is to recognize previously unrecognized facilities. Like McArthur Foundation “genius grants” before us, we seek out genius in whatever way (in whatever bathroom) it presents itself — only without the $500,000 prize.
We’ll recognize brilliant or merely charming design and unique locations. We’ll comment anytime we experience the surprise or pleasure of discovery.
We’re noticing that this quest for genius is becoming a journey of self-discovery as well. [Read that last sentence any way you’d like.] We find, for example, that although never a fan of potty humor, we do tend to photograph bathroom humor, like the fly captured forever in a urinal. It challenges us with philosophical questions, like “a fly, why a fly?” and “is a fly, is a fly, is a fly?”
And on the door of a restaurant bathroom in NYC, more questions: how many saw the coat hook with crooked holes and phillips screws before one saw the drunk[en] octopus? Philosophically, how many saw nothing? not even a coat hook?
Had we arrived moments earlier at another site, we might have been involved in a bathroom tragedy — perhaps the victim carried a 35mm camera. Arriving when we did, just after the crime scene investigation was completed, we got a good laugh instead.