From ethernet to ethereal (death and everlasting life on the internet).

Lately, I’ve been violating Rule #8 of My Photography Truths by visiting various photography fora (or forums, if you prefer).

It all started innocently enough when I wanted to find out what a specific individual, whom I respected, was up to.

It turns out, he’s dead.

In actuality, he died two years ago.

I was taken aback when my journey through the e-landscape led me to this.

And yet, there were all his previous posts.  His thoughts remained for all to see, each word shimmering on the bright computer screen before me, as if the ghost had never left the machine.

As I continued visiting other fora, it turned out a few other people had transitioned from the ethernet to the ethereal.

Of course, none of this should surprise me.  People died before the internet too.

But, many of us now leave an electronic trail that is paved with our most intimate thoughts, images.  People who have never met us will — in some very real way — get to know us… even after we’re long gone.

In the past, only authors, songwriters, politicians, or otherwise “famous” people left imprints that could reach beyond the consciousness of their loved ones.

Now, potentially all of us may be mourned by, well, all of us.

Or immortalized.

(provided we lay low and don’t post anything after we’re gone)




9 thoughts on “From ethernet to ethereal (death and everlasting life on the internet).

  1. Linden says:

    At the L Camera Forum, I discovered the posts of someone who always signed off “the old man from the age of the…” with an apt old piece of technology appended, like Dual Range Summicron. His posts were so good, and often so contrary to the photography forum zeitgeist, that I found myself searching for his posts. I learned a lot – I learned most of what I know about Mandler era lenses from him for example – and wanted to drop him a note to thank him for all the insight I had gained from his posts, only to discover that, it seems at least, he is no longer with us. And so I never knew him, and never will. But I am grateful to him.

  2. John G. says:

    My Dad passed away in 2002 at age 59. I kept all our e-mail traffic which I love to revisit and remember how much I love and miss him. It certainly can take me back and makes me feel like he is still here.

  3. David says:

    I had immediately thought of Lars when I read this. That really affected me when it happened. I had never met him but really respected him, we was a gold mine of knowledge. We were cyber friends and spoke every now and then, yet his death was a mystery and all of a sudden, I was a stranger again.

    The internet is a mysterious beast. Sometimes I find it difficult to look at old photos and that has recently extended to some old web pages. There’s a certain loneliness in it that I can’t quite put my finger on. Something bout the freezing of time perhaps. I was only thinking about this last week, not sure why, and I wondered how all this data that we are accumulating day by day will be received and viewed, if at all, in a hundred years or more. Imagine 500 years later people reading this like time was frozen.

  4. Antonio says:

    I actually think most of what is now on the web will be lost forever to future generations. Technology is moving at such a pace that it will all disappear unless resources are specifically signed to saving stuff. Nothing lasts forever, even on the Iinternet.

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