1.8 Tools of Capture

Tools of Capture: Canon 7D, Day 6 Plotwatcher Time-lapse, iPhone

Beyond accumulating physical objects and written words in my database, I am also passionately accumulating still and moving images. I use a range of high, medium, and low-resolution cameras, and oscillate between still and moving digital devices. Although quality/resolution is always a consideration when I am using a particular camera, I’m more interested in the access a particular device provides. Whether it is the med-res iPhone camera in my pocket at all times, a rugged Day 6 Plotwatcher low-res time-lapse camera I can duct tape to my bike and film while riding (or leave it somewhere all day to capture the environment in-motion) or the high-res Canon 7d DSLR with that allows me to investigate with interchangeable lenses (including a 15mm ultra wide, 100mm macro, or 35mm standard lens).

The digital aesthetics of these tools each provide a particular look to the final output. These tools are used primarily for sketching, and I attempt to capture the immediacy of the moment. Many times the poor or compressed digital quality offers a genuine quality to the piece. As filmmaker Hito Steyerl describes, “The poor image is a copy in motion, compressed, reproduced, ripped, remixed, as well as copied and pasted into other channels of distribution.” The beauty of the high or low-res digital camera is that they can all be remixed, rechanneled and shared quite easily. Still and video sketching is another tool that graphic designers can access without creating a subcategory of a separate discipline. My intention is not to undermine the tradition of film or photography but to imbue the disciplines with a shared philosophy.

Objects, writing and images all create a large database of inspiration for me to access like memories in my mind. Capturing ephemera and my surroundings is just the first phase in communicating my methodology.

Originally published at http://jamesjgrady.com on June 22, 2012.

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Principal, Design Axl & Assistant Professor of Graphic Design, Boston University

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James Grady

Principal, Design Axl & Assistant Professor of Graphic Design, Boston University