Last night I began the transfer of my life works onto Google's new Google Photos service. They promise free storage for life, with the catch being that images will be restrained to 16MP in size. This isn't really that significant an issue for me, as most of the images I took earlier in my career were far below this threshold. Furthermore, Google Photos allows RAW uploads* , a feature that Flickr (while offering 1TB of free storage for images of any resolution), sorely lacks. I am hoping that Google photos will be a good solution for archiving, maintaining and examining the many thousands of photographs I have amassed, and the many hundreds of thousands I have yet to take still.
Such faith in cloud storage raises many interesting points of discussion. Is this the new faith? Faith in the cloud to maintain our memories. Faith in the system that maintains the cloud to maintain our memories evergreen. Faith that this data will not be used against us. Faith that the world will not dissolve into chaos; our data along with it.
I will dedicate a full essay about this at a later time. For now, here are some GIF animations that the "assistant" feature in Google Photos has automatically generated from my archives. The speed and efficiency at which Googles algorithms work to make sense of the contents of these images, is both astonishing and frightening. The infinite ways in which this technology could be exploited for evil is mind boggling. At the same time, it is difficult to not be drawn by the allure and see that the possibilities for good are also endless; especially when dealing with archives of this size. It truly feels as if we are on the brink of another jump, another breakthrough, that will once again accelerate technological and human development to previously unimagined heights. Or it could be just the beginning of the Orwellian nightmare that is beginning to stain the edges of this brave new world.
But enough with the drama, here are some fancy *** GIFs, courtesy of Skynet herself. All of these images are from around 2007-2008. I have still yet to upload images from 2009 and beyond. To witness this harvest of lost fragments has been interesting to say the least. In the 21st Century, the distinction between an artist and his tools are becoming harder and harder to distinguish. I didn't make these GIFs. But I did take the photographs. Who then, created this art? Will the dawn of the singularity be heralded by the awakening of the first mechanical artist?
* (UPDATE - Yameen Rasheed has pointed out that while it supports uploading RAW, it doesn't actually support downloading that RAW unless you pay for storage. Oh well! Seems like I'll have to mirror everything in dropbox after all.)
All images © Hani Amir