Cleaning a hard drive is an interesting and also exhausting experience. Besides finding all sort of files you have no clue about where did you got them from and what’s their use, you also come across hundreds of GB of data you definitely want to keep, organize and never lose. The closest files to our hearts, are definitely the personal pictures. Losing part of our photos is enough to make any grown man cry. Been there, done that, have the sad t-shirt.
Going through my picture archive made me realize that after the digital camera boom, we all have way too many tens of GB of pictures, from the past few years alone! Every trip, special or less special moment and event, are documented and are a priceless reminder of our past. We definitely don’t want to lose those.
Digital cameras and the evolution of storage options made holding on to beautiful memories so much easier for us. Pretty much every gadget you buy nowadays, which can be connected to the internet, is equipped with a camera. This gives us an insane mobility and the opportunity to turn every moment of the day in a photo / video diary, if that’s what we really want.
But, things weren’t always this way. Actually, the digital cameras weren’t around until the 1990s! Yes, we survived that far without them. And nowadays, we simply can’t imagine our lives without such a precious gadget.
Short history of cameras
Who remembers the film cameras? Oh yes, the good old film cameras, which only allowed you to click 36 pictures? Yep, only that … You don’t know that feeling? Try buying a single use camera, in case you’re looking for that unique experience, without spending too much money on buying an old film camera 🙂
The man we should thank for giving us the opportunity to immortalize a few moments from our before the 90s lives, is called George Eastman, the person who created a company called Kodak, in the 1880s, which started selling the first flexible roll film cameras. The buyer, after clicking the pictures would send the camera back to the factory for the film to be developed, much like the disposable cameras nowadays.
Oh and you think that’s bad? Let’s look even deeper into the history of the cameras.
Photography, in the form we know it today, started in the late 1830, in France, when Joseph Nicéphore Niépce used a camera obscura to expose to light a pewter plate coated with bitumen which led to the creation of the Daguerreotype, the ancestor of modern film.
Emulsion plates replaced the Daguerreotype in the 1850s, using an emulsion process called(Collodion process), which involved a glass plate, much more sensitive to light.
In the 1970’s, the dry plates gave photographers much more freedom in taking photographs, as the plates could be stored and the cameras became much smaller. The last big step for this fascinating device, before the first film camera became part of our lives.
Evolution at its best, or what?
In the past, a photograph was a piece of art, a rare precious possession to cherish and pass from generation to generation. A camera was a very unusual object to be found in a house, and would be used only on special occasions. Every picture we clicked was so special to us, and even more, the preparations, surroundings, people and occasion made it rise to the level of worthy for immortality. Today, not so much.
We don’t have a lot of pictures from before the digital cameras era, but the ones we posses are definitely a small treasure. Something about the black and white pictures gives us a warm cozy feeling inside. Oh yes, the nostalgia for the good old days…
Nowadays, with the easy access to cameras, the value of pictures dropped down. We basically turned a form of art, into a common everyday action, we perform mechanically.
There’s nothing special anymore about the process of clicking photographs with our phones, tablets or digital cameras. I don’t know about you, but seeing a picture being clicked with a tablet, gives me the feeling of someone pointing a door at someone else. Not very attractive, in the least and definitely not a form of art.
It seems like the access to cameras mean access to more and more pictures, which have little to no value.This considered, how many pictures, are really special, and how many are just filling? Also, how many pictures can be considered pure art, and how many are useless in value?
How many true photographers are still out there? How many really appreciate and understand the evolution of this amazing piece of technology we carry along everywhere. And how many take photographs in that spirit of mind, giving the camera the respect it demands? I believe way too little…
The word goes around that all you need in order to become a photographer nowadays is a Facebook page with ‘Your Name‘ + the word ‘Photography’. Unfortunately, this is very true, as in many cases, every person with a fancy digital camera wants to believe in the: ‘I’m a photographer‘, which isn’t always true. The amount of work and dedication going into capturing that special photograph, is enormous, and not all of us are willing to invest that much time and energy into obtaining it.
Don’t you miss the film cameras? Not even a little bit? I sure miss the feeling an old camera gave me, in terms of appreciating the value of every frame immortalized. Film cameras made us so much more conscious about our surroundings and the true meaning of value. Even if digital cameras gave us the wings to fly, I wonder if they will ever rise to the level of the previous generation of cameras. Or, even better, if WE have what it takes to make the beautiful device get there.