• Works on Paper and Piano

Elements of Innovation

In the thirteenth year of the twentieth century, technological innovations were like buds on a flower ready to bloom.  Ford Motor Company introduced the first large scale moving assembly line, the first successful recipe to make stainless steel came about in 1913, but there was another discovery that was so small, it could not be observed by the human eye but would indeed change our perception to come.  Danish physicist Niels Bohr introduced the Bohr model of atomic structures in 1913.  The science of atomic structures opened up the notion to the imagination that smaller, not bigger, was the gateway to industrial and commercial innovations; perception that complete and efficient systems could involve on a much smaller scale or with a leaner footprint.

Long before there were smaller digital devices like today’s digital cameras or mobile phones, there was the introduction of the Leica camera proto-types in 1913 by Oskar Barnack of Leitz.   Although Leica production models were not realized until 1924, nonetheless, the Leica camera introduction was an innovation that exemplified forward thinking about scale in such a way that it became an advantage that drove change how people captured life and environments.

What are the elements of innovation?  One way to think about innovation is as an outcome of divergent thinking, the same sensibilities found in the creative processes in the visual arts, theater, dance, music, architecture, and literature.  What is observed as elements in life and the arts can be symbiotic with innovation; distillation of scale, form, speed, and abstract random outcomes.

Take Oskar Barnack’s 1913 camera concept for example, and rethink innovation for the twenty first century.  Such a camera innovation would have both macro and telescopic optical capabilities, with separate CCD layers of luminance, red, green and blue, gain amplifier with excellent noise to signal reduction, enhanced encoder, with an overall physical footprint 10x smaller in scale, manifest as a wearable unit.  The remote control, viewfinder and microphone also manifest in a separate but second unified wearable unit, which voice command inputs can execute shooting mode algorithms, and output commands along with language translation capabilities coupled with cultural and GPS mappings.  Such a camera innovation can deliver all captured images and voice data to a removable medium or a secured cloud-based storage or satellite feed at will.  Rendering software allows various output templates such as 2D, 3D, 3D-Printer, time, motion, language translations, and discrete secured metadata.

What was once a static twentieth century camera apparatus becomes a dynamic, and fully integrated global networked remote device allowing cross-cultural communication for business, commerce, education, and information gathering in the twenty first century based on the innovation of scale, form, and speed.  This leaves the last element of innovation of abstract random outcomes to determine value, predictability, adaptation, and of course, the next steps.

All Rights Reserved – Richard A. Peña


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Flora Nocturne – Still Lifes

Flora Nocturne is an analysis that compares and contrasts two visual constructs; Objective Poetic Transformation and Abstraction.  Objective poetic transformation is not a new idea and derives from photographic statements and criticism from the twentieth century.  Practitioners from Alfred Stieglitz to Edward Weston to Minor White were pursuant to purity, objective observations and gateways.  The visual construct of abstractions came from painting and influenced not only photography but the art world as a whole in the twentieth century.  The theme of this collection explores the tension between representation and abstraction, real and unreal, reality and imagination, leaving the viewers to question, reconcile, and manifest.

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Who is enjoying the shadow of whom…

In the year 1889, Oscar Wilde looked out the window of his London flat, as the fog rolled in, pondered about the great discourse of human observations, the iconic values of civilizations; beauty and truth. Taking on the Aristotelian constructs, and changing the dialogue of existing thinking about aesthetics and image making. Firing a shot across the bows, warning all, that the rules are about to change with the assertion, “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life” in his essay, The Decay of Lying.  What was unforeseen in the late eighteen hundreds, and about to unfold in the future were technological changes that would control how subject matter will be imitated, rendered, and trend as social norms.
By 1889, photography was still in its infancy, although, the principles of optics were known as far back as to the fifth century, the camera obscura was derived as an imaging appliance prior to 1839, the year photography was announced to the world.  Yet, photography as a technically advanced imaging process for the age was not recognized as an art form in the late eighteen hundreds and nor it would not be recognized as an art form until the twentieth century.  Nevertheless, the prospects of imaging technology was going to change not only human societies but to enable new industries to control the perception of reality on a mass wholesale level unparalleled to any other age.
The power and propagation of images has never been more prevalent, we are now experiencing the pixelization of the world, whether its Google maps or image capture via mobile camera of information worthy events.  The rapid transformation of picture information now allows our perceptions of the world to be rendered, imitated, and manipulated as historical record, brand or propaganda, all in real time. Most accept the notion that our contemporaneous lives evolve on some level of sophistication and artfulness. As the lines between reality, and personal expression blend and smudge as soft delineations, sometimes with authenticity, sometimes with a sense of truth, and sometimes sublime.
All Rights Reserved – Richard A. Peña
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