Monday, January 10, 2011

Timeless Art in a Fast World

There is a fun app on my phone that allows me to take professional-looking pictures in almost no time. I can make the most menial object look epic, without having to pay a professional photographer. That's a blessing and also a possible hazard.

We live in a fast world, and we want high-quality things, quickly. A picture program like this is appealing because it cuts out cost and time. But that also means that a tool like this could potentially take away work from photographers.

What does this look like when it comes to writing songs? With professional-quality microphones and recording equipment cheaper than ever, anyone and their mom is able to get an album onto iTunes. The real issue when it comes to such available technology is that we are tempted and able to hit the recording button too soon. Instead of carving on and reshaping a lyric or melody, we attempt to make up for any deficiencies in the song by making a sparkly and shiny recording. But a great recording of a mediocre song is still only a mediocre song. Few will remember hearing it.

When more people have access to create timeless-looking art, the challenge is to encourage all to participate, while still preserving and passing on the integrity of the craft. The reality is that with everyone taking photos on their phones, we are potentially only adding more noise to the craft of photography. It becomes easier to be average, and more difficult to be exceptional.

In the end, time is what separates the good from the mediocre – in a photographer's photos and in a songwriter's songs. If we create something true and good, it will stand up ten years from now. But if we only write something that sounds like what’s currently on the radio, then it’ll just sound like that "other" song. And who just wants to blend in?

Keep writing,


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