Our Top Flight
Film producers, industry professionals, scholars, and production personnel.
The Personal Imaging Revolution
Pixel Nation follows the evolution of the snapshot from a simple memory maker to a powerful communication tool affecting social and political change.
We are filming around the world documenting the people and events that are creating the digital imaging revolution.
It took 23 seconds in 1975 for Steve Sasson, an engineer at Kodak, to define a new age in communications. In those 23 seconds he recorded the first digital picture. From this date forward, technological advancements in digital imaging, the internet, and cellphones have combined to position pictures as the new lexicon – a form of communication so universally powerful it has restructured social and political institutions. Pixel Nation explores photography’s trajectory into this new visual language.
The core of the story is how the smartphone puts political, economic, and cultural forces within the user’s control. This democratization of information is empowering alternative voices outside mainstream media. The Occupy movement, Witness, and sousveillance, utilize smartphones and social networks to grant new powers to individuals. The photograph has been transformed into a social communication tool, sending instant information without words resulting in 2.5 trillion photos being shared online in 2016.
The urge to snap a picture comes quickly without any forethought, but has its roots in generations of collective actions. Pixel Nation will show how the ancestry of self produced digital imagery lay with George Eastman’s introduction of the first consumer camera in 1897. Before this, photography’s complexity and expense limited its use to studio professionals. Eastman created the technology that allowed the public to use pictures to preserve personal memories, a way to construct individual narratives.
Photography has since leapt up several meta levels to become a universal language. Today’s smartphone camera is everywhere and recording everything. When these details appear as legitimate documents amid institutional practices, such as journalism, politics, and law, we can begin to see their potential to reconfigure relations of power. When we look at the path that brought us to our current level of self produced imagery, it provides a point of assessment for its implications. The film asks the question, is technology fundamentally changing the way a generation behaves, or is this technology simply facilitating existing behavioral patterns? Being aware of the total effect a new technology has on us, helps us decide its value.
Pixel Nation is a production of Third Wave Films. For information contact firstname.lastname@example.org