In 1982 National Geographic magazine modified a horizontal photograph of the pyramids of Giza to turn it into a vertical so as to fit their cover. The editor of the magazine describe it to me as a “retroactive repositioning” of the photographer a few feet to one side to get a different point of view–in effect, a kind of time travel. I have referred to this manipulation as marking the beginning of the digital revolution in photography.
Now, with the invention of the Lytro “living photos,” which allow anyone to make a photograph and then choose where to focus later, this kind of time travel will be more broadly available. As one of the investors in Lytro, Ben Horowitz, put it: “Essentially, you can take the picture you wish you would have taken after the fact. If you are used to the old paradigm, it’s like travelling backwards through time. You can take a picture then figure out what you really wanted then go back through time and take that picture.” So much for the decisive moment.