Sunday, January 31, 2010

Digital review

We kept Candlemass today, ahead of Tuesday, the proper date, so that more people will be able to share in the celebration. Numbers are back to normal now after the cold spell. Andrew was back with us again after his lengthy Christmas break from training. After the Eucharist, a young man made himself known, seeking help. He spoke no English, only Portuguese, however, and it wasn't possible to make any headway in finding out what he wanted or how he came to be in Cardiff asking for help. Asylum seeker? Economic migrant? Abandoned by associates during a trip from home, wherever that is? From where? It wasn't possible tell. Nobody in St John's speaks Portuguese. In the end, Andrew took him over to St David's Cathedral, as there's a much greater degree of linguistic diversity among people worshipping and service there. I wonder if we'll ever find out about him?

After lunch, I revisited Margaret to give her Communion, and then went over to the Heath to see a Percy. Then it was back home to prepare for a PCC meeting after Evensong. Two more Faculties applications need approval - one for new church noticeboards around the perimeter, and another to put forward our proposal to enhance and decorate the font cover. This doesn't need to be part of any grand plan to improve the West entrance or add an extra storey to the vestry block, now under consideration. Both projects are about making known who we are and what we're about as the Parish Church by the market place in the heart of the city.

Fortunately the meeting wasn't too long, so I was able to return home and get my photo digitizer kit out and do some work on rendering some old negatives into a form that can be published on the web. As Clare and I have been sorting through forty years worth of old photos recently, packs of negatives have surfaced relating to our Jordan trip twelve years ago, plus a Greek holiday. It's nice to look at them again. Not all the photos made it out of the wallet. Even before digital photography, I was taking a lot of pictures - too many to take time to mount into albums. Was it , I wonder, a matter of photography getting cheaper, or of us having more to spend on film and processing?

Since the advent of digital cameras I've taken thousands more photos, but few ever get printed now, taking up space as they did prior to my first purchase in 2001. But will digital copies last as long as negatives, slides or prints? In 25 years of computing I've witnessed eight distinctly different changes to the storage media used for digital data of all kinds, quite apart from changes in computers and ways of connecting to them, mostly not backwards compatible. Changes in printed photos over a century were largely changes to the quality and durability of the materials used in print production. We may be able to produce and distribute much higher quality pictures digitally, and easily discard failures at little cost after purchase, but old style prints don't require electricity to view. Will this still be true in half a century from now I wonder?

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