Why does it seem like the new millennium started five years ago, and not 10? And what ever happened to the big Y2K scare and all the doomsayers who promoted it? I don’t know the answer to the first question–guess time compression and memory gets worse with age–but I’m pretty sure I know what happened to most of the doomsayers. They found new jobs working for Homeland Security updating the color-coded terrorist alerts.
Seriously, a lot has changed in the past decade, especially in the imaging and consumer electronics industries. From my perspective, it appears that the changes that have taken place in the last 10 years in photography, communications, and in our personal privacy and security are at least as vast as those that took place in the 100 years before the year 2000. For example, back in 2000 who would have thought that my teenage kids would now own tiny, cheap pocket computers that are far more advanced than the $10,000 work stations I used in 2000–especially when it comes to receiving or sending images, playing music, surfing the web, or even navigating around the world? I refer, of course, to their 3G cell phones. And who would have thought that it would actually be hard to find a role of film at any store to take those treasured Christmas photos? Oh, that’s right. I predicted that would happen by 2005. In any event, who cares about the film, now that everyone takes their photos with digital cameras and sends their Holiday cards via the internet, FaceBook, YouTube, etc.?
So as a tribute to all that’s changed in the past decade, I decided to revisit a photo collage I made for the last page of Popular Photography Magazines January 2000 issue. The original concept for that collage was to show how much had changed, yet how much had stayed the same in Times Square between the years 1900 and 2000. Perhaps it’s time to redo the background (comprised of several images taken in late 1999 and stitched together in Photoshop) since now a days there’s hardly a printed billboard to be found in Times Square, most having been replaced by high tech digital LED or LCD panels. In addition, the left side of Time’s Square is now closed to traffic and has become a pedestrian mall, while the towering building in center now has a completely new look in terms of video screens and top. As for me, I’ve moved the office I once occupied a few blocks from this photo’s location about 80 miles North, while the magazine I once worked for has gone South.
How much change will occur in the next decade? I’ll be making my predictions soon. In the meantime, it’s a good bet that staring at a computer monitor will cause my vision to deteriorate down to 20-40 by 2020. (After which, I’ll get it lasered back to 20-15). And I’m also predicting that the McNamara Report will still be around in 2020, and that I’ll be hosting (and storing) the entire web site including photos, text, and HD videos, on my iWatch. Perhaps, if I’m lucky, one or two of those big screens in Times Square will flash the crowds a few of my ramblings, analysis, predictions, photos, and videos between now and then. Stranger things have happened! Happy New Year!