Thursday, February 07, 2008

Here's Looking At You
If your family is like mine (and you're over 35 years old, or so) you have, somewhere in your basement, attic or closet, a box full of old pictures and/or slides. If you are my age, you have a bunch of old square format black and whites taken on 620 film (bet you haven't heard that one for a long time...but I digress). The thing is that we took these hundreds and hundreds of images to record a moment or event or to remember a person as they were on that day. They are treasures of our past. That's why we've kept them with us as we've moved from house to house.
My youngest has a wonderful habit of going through these boxes when she visits. She has put together some wonderful albums, and paging through them brings back wonderful memories. I have to wonder how many other pictures have been lost. Regradless, let me get to my next point.
Cameras, once a luxury item, are everywhere. Everyone has at least one, and most have them in their phones. In their phones for heavan's sake. And when is the last time you paddled with a group in which at least one person didn't have an Optio or similar water proof camera? What next?
What next is videos. In those same basements and attics are often found boxes of old 8mm and super 8 reels of usually awful films that we used to watch on crummy projectors. They lie in hibernation to probably never be viewed again (where would you get the bulb for your projector?). Enter the pixel. Enter digital videos.
Now, with set ups like JB's, we can relive the motion of the moment, and the quality is amazingly excellent. But like photos (all the digital ones that never got printed is a topic for another day), how many of these videos actually get seen...a second time? JB carries a portable player with him so that we can see what he's shot on the big screen as we sip coffee. And a lot of bloggers now put video clips on their sites as easily (easy for them) as posting a pic. Still, I bet there are thousands and millions of hours of video (digital and film) that go un-re-seen.
The problem, I believe, is financial and over supply. Most folks can afford a digital camera of some sort. Add to that the fact that they do not need to purchase film or pay to have it developed and we have a bunch of people who shoot images like a soldier shooting a machine gun. Lots and lots of pretty bad stuff gets recorded. Like shopping (mall therapy), the act of shooting seems to be a quick fix with little need to follow up and actually see the images again. It is as if the shooters are more in love with the freedom derived from the technology than any soul desire to capture and relive the moment.
Now, we can get picture frames that automatically scroll through and display images on a card. The quality is excellent. Me? I often print my pictures, often in large format (11x 14). When I see those images on the wall they bring back fond memories. And the others? Well, a lot of them end up here where I can call them up on my computer and enjoy them again.
A picture is worth a thousand words. A thousand pictures can create babble.
Paddle safe...
DS


16 comments:

DaveO said...

Jim Brandenberg, a photographer from Ely, MN did a book called, "Chased by the Light". He challenged himself to take one exposure per day for 90 straight days and the results are unbelievable, especially in the days of point and shoot. And I still have my 620 box camera, usually carefully threaded with black and white film, the poor mans Hasselblad. Good memories and a fine post.

Stan Mac Kenzie said...

I have fond memories in boxes, these pictures I may one day scan to computer. To me going through my pictures on computer is like reading a book. The words bouncing out as I relive every picture. Awesome post.

Kristen said...

Excellent post, Silbs. With the wee one, we find we're taking lots more shots as we're afraid to miss something we may later forget - it goes so fast. And I too love sifting through my folks' old B&Ws from the very early days of their lives, and then when we kiddies came along (still B&W in the 60s) - it is all very dear to hang on to.

Silbs said...

Thanks guys. Stan, I wish you would up date your medicl rant blog. The info is well taught and the images awesome.

Daveo, I didn't even know 620 was available. Remember the old stuff in which red (e.g. lipstick) photographed black?

Silbs said...

Ktisten, Lady Linda and I look at photos of the kids (and ourselves) and cannot honestly remember us all looking that way (young). What a hoot it will bwe to show them to our grand kids and try to explain those hair does and clothes.

derrick said...

great post! I have a feeling the age of digital is killing photography as an art. We see so much imagery these days we hardly take time to look long enough to appreciate good work.

Michael said...

Dick - you're on to a popular topic today!
I think the problem with video is the need to edit to make anything worth seeing by anyone other than those present at the shoot. Still photos have a more universal appeal. Editing video can also be a bit daunting for many - even worse than printing out your decent stills for putting into albums!

Silbs said...

Derrick and Michel, I agree. As hard as it is to edit video (I won't even try it), it is deceptively hard to produce a high quality still with proper composition, brightness and contrast. Too many folks are agog over the bright colors. I've always favored black and white images for impact.

JohnB said...

How many hours of video have I shot? I don't honestly know, but like Michael said the editing is very time consuming. I'm still learning the Photoshop Elements software. I thought doing it on my laptop during my lunch (coffee at Caribou)hour would be plenty of time. NOT!!! Now I'm thinking I need to be "sick" and stay home for a day dedicated to working on editing video. And, then there's all the other things that I need to do with the very limited "free" time I have--perhaps I need to be very sick for several days.

Oops, here's my boss now . . .

Capt'n "O" Dark 30 & Super Boo said...

Picture this:

A man - A shovel - An attitude -
:-)

Good post! ForChristmas my girls found the lost VHS tapes of our family. It was a great gift - sharing the moments again with them.

teletwang said...

Agreed, great post. I've switched to mostly digital - but i sure miss that image being revealed in the developer tray during a printing session! There's nothing like printing from a perfect 6x6 neg for me... and finding new possibilites and compositions from the same neg.

Silbs said...

I, too, miss the alchemy of the darkroom, but it is so much work, especially the time taken to set up (mix chems) and cleaning up afterwards.

teletwang said...

I don't miss the smell of sepia toner, that's for sure (but i do miss a well-toned print on fiber paper.. ahhh). I also miss my good camera equipment when kayaking - there are so many images i can 'see' but can't take due to the limitations of the optio. I've already lost two non-waterproof cameras to the drink!

Silbs said...

The only problem with the Optio is the 27 minute shutter lag!

teletwang said...

Wow, yours is faster than mine... i'll have to look into upgrading the flux capacitors or something. On the bright side, at least one can see right away that the shot was missed and can keep plugging away without wasting film. I think the optio is pretty decent for what it is, i just miss a wide angle, big apertures, and the shutter response of an slr.

Edward said...

I agree, there is of course a great posting with good Pic Frames. I have switched to many digital pics but after never come across this type of pic which your blog consists of. I thought that I would miss the images revealed in the developing tray. They look as if they are real.The picframes are really amazing.