I often wonder if traditional skills and the deep roots of culture they represent will survive the 21st century. After all, the basket maker I met in Istanbul isn’t grooming a younger apprentice to replace him. It’s hard to imagine how making woven baskets by hand can compete with the flash of possibilities on offer in the digital realm.
Yet, there were those men in their thirties on islands off the coast of East Africa hewing gunwales and planks by hand to build wooden dhows. And there were the young men in their twenties making traditional swords in Kurashiki, Japan from small batches of steel they produced themselves on site.
My guess is that some things will indeed endure the onslaught of changes wrought by technology in the 21st century. I won’t be around to find out which ones will make the cut, but I can celebrate the ones still around today whenever I find them by documenting them with my camera and my keyboard.