Camera Morte is a legend. For the world it became a mythic symbol of the eternal, evolving digital.
But I have no words to describe the myth and the legend. I did not know this strange and wonderful Camera Morte until five months before it stopped working altogether. Most of us gathered here today, knew only the old digital camera – a functioning, trustworthy, predictable image capturing device. Those early images were pleasing, true, in their own right, as accurate depictions of scenes and loved ones over the past eight years.
Our memories of Camera Morte remain alive, not only in shadow on the screen or as a consistent early-2000’s piece of the electronic. No. The ghost-like photos it produced actually live on two external hard drives and are backed-up on a few DVD’s. A selection of the images are showcased in a print publication, ‘Camera Morte / Neighborhood Apocalypse’. What some may have thought of as a decline in functionality, I saw as a beautiful, almost paranormal expression of the natural aging process of the medium. A ripening. A curing.
For us Camera Morte was a devoted and loyal camera, a colleague constantly reaching for focus. It was a member of our family. It is difficult to accept the fact that it’s zest for light and dark has been ended by a dreadful lack of information on its LCD screen and memory card.
It had a luminous quality, especially toward the end – a combination of magenta, cool greens and sometimes salmon colors – to set it apart and yet make everyone wish to be a part of it, to share in the childish overexposure of highlights and sunshine, which was so weird and yet so vibrant.
Now it is at some kind of an end. I will continue to try to resuscitate Camera Morte, dropping it yet again might work… and I hope its alleged death will stir sympathy and understanding for a sensitive, semi-functioning digital camera — a machine who brought curiosity and pleasure, even a little disturbance, at least to my little corner of the world a little over one year ago.
I cannot say goodbye, but instead, au revoir. For the shelf to which it has gone, we must all someday be shelved…or not.