Why I Love Webcams
Webcams are useful. They are the best tool for recording me in my natural habitat: directly in front of a computer. When the little light above my screen flicks on, I know it’s my time to shine. I guess I have a strong interest in specific types of photographic technology, as evidenced in my scanner adventures (a project which has now been running for four years), and webcams are no exception. They have a unique documentative role in contemporary culture
The webcam is a beautifully mundane device now, but its presence in our homes and computers is quite a recent development. Years ago I used to visit internet cafes, as there was no computer yet at home and my best friend and I were keen to spend all our time talking to strangers on MSN. Back then, a webcam was still a novelty. They were sometimes available in internet cafes, but I never used them as I wasn't too keen on making myself that visible to my strange collection of MSN friends. Occasionally though, some of those friends would put their webcams on and give me a glimpse into their mysterious personal worlds. I remember one boy in particular (I met him on Habbo Hotel - classic) who had long, dark hair, and snow white skin - he would glare dramatically from my screen as he typed cryptic, theatrical messages. He postured as some sort of vampire prince. It was pretty amusing for a while, but I got bored of it soon enough (Lemuria Delacroix, if you’re out there: hi!).
Eventually, of course, webcams became embedded in every laptop - and I came to enjoy sharing my visage online on a scale that my fifteen year old self would have been horrified by. There’s a great openness on the internet now - a happy culture of shared personal celebration. For me, webcams and their pictures are a big part of that. Just as much as blogging or sharing my creative exploits gives me a sense of personal achievement and fulfilment, so does sharing my life in a more direct, visual way via my webcam.
I've been sitting in front of my window, sunlight resting in fragments on my legs as I sip tea, catch up on some anime, and draw cute characters in purple felt tip. My hair is curling up a little at the ends (as usual), and cool air is blowing gently against my neck from the small fan next to my bed. This is what I look like today, and I'm happy to record and share the reality of myself and my life at this exact moment. I feel good.