The Digital Age
Back in the mid 1990’s I attended a wedding where the father of a friend was showing off his new digital camera. Groups of friends, families and wedding party members were clustered together waiting for their turn to pose for “digital” photo. The process was largely familiar: everyone stands together, smiles, a quick “1-2-3-say-cheese” countdown, and then the camera’s flash deploys leaving the posing subjects blinking awkwardly as their eyes attempt to readjust to the dim lighting of the room. But then things got strange. Everyone from the photo would hustle over to crowd around the photographer who would then proudly show them the just-snapped photo on his camera’s LCD.
At the time this instant review felt strange. Photos were supposed to be an act of faith. One did not simply see their photo mere seconds after it was taken. Even Polaroids required several awkward minutes of shaking before the strangely colored low-fi photo slowly appeared. Strange as it was, just as soon as the flash finished washing over my group I found myself trotting over with great interest to see our digital photo on the tiny, glowing LCD.
The LCD was small and the picture quality a bit fuzzy but it revealed just enough detail to gauge the general quality of the photograph. Subject A’s eyes were closed, the result of an ill-timed blink. Subject B’s double chin was unflatteringly accentuated by the harsh light of the camera’s flash. Subject C did not like the extra pounds the camera added to their protruding tummy. No problem. The photo was deleted and we lined up for a retake, this time concentrating on keeping our eyes open, our chins pointed up and out, and our tummies sucked in.
I was drawn to and frustrated by photography at a very young age. Blowing through four rolls of 110 film on my first Kodak Instamatic knock-off was fun until I had to wait weeks for my mother to get the film developed. The point-and-shoot film camera from my teen years yielded many ruined shots due to my finger constantly covering the oddly placed lens. Once I shot what would have been an entire roll of film on my father’s vintage Leica only to discover the film had not been advancing due to improper loading. Toiling away with chemicals in a dark room was a neat exercise but only helped make my decision to go digital all the easier.
Digital gave me instant feedback which in turn gave me the ability to correct my mistakes, to recompose my shots, or just to pass on the idea altogether. Digital gives me options like tethering to my MacBook for instant full-resolution previews. I still make loads of mistakes (“No really, I meant to focus on the baby’s big toe rather than his face.”). However now I am able to catch and correct the majority of my mistakes in the field and I tend to master techniques after correcting them several times over. Digital has helped me improve as a photographer.
In the same way, the capture of digital data is helping companies improve their business. At Domo we are working to reduce latency between data capture and data visualization. We envision a future where the moment your data is published your group can gather around their own glowing LCD screens to see it visualized. Imagine running your business with less data latency. What details will you discern or what mistakes might you correct? Do you have underperforming budgets that need to “suck in?” Did your executives blink at an inopportune moment?