The Special Photograph

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?

20140520_213638

Old baby photograph – Yep, that’s me 🙂

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.

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24 thoughts on “The Special Photograph

  1. Great post, I miss film cameras and still have a couple from days past. Its a digital world now and anyone with a phone or tablet is a photographer, the difference is how different folks see things differently..:-)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Ed, for taking the time to read my post and for your wonderful comment! Well said! Indeed, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so it’s up to us to bring out the max of any cam. I also miss the film cameras. I still have the first camera our family clicked the pictures with. It was so special to develop the photos, especially when you had no idea if they came out good or not 🙂 Good old day! Have a lovely Monday! x

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    • Indeed, the digital cameras gives us what we were craving for, which is mobility. So much easier to add the photos on a drive now, than it was in the past. I had to scan them and save them in my pc haha 🙂 But still, developing the film is a unique experience. I remember when I was around 4 or 5, my dad used to do that at home, and I used to help. Such a wonderful family activity, and fascinating to witness 🙂 Thank you for reading and for your lovely comment, Sue! Hugs x

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I still have a film camera (analog), I keep it for sentimental reason 🙂 I like the new digital technology as I can take control of the editing result myself. Previously – when using a film camera, I have to work together with a studio to ensure they process the film on my term. Quite a work for an amateur photographers 😀 Really like this post Lucy. I guess nowadays, photographers were being challenged to show special images that differ than others – tough and competitive world!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Indah! I’m happy you enjoyed the article. I also keep my previous camera for the same reasons 🙂 Such beautiful gadgets, But, as you said, the digital ones gives us the chance to alter the images as we want. This is precisely why the world of photography is so competitive now, when more and more people have access to it. Personally, I appreciate much more a photograph which isn’t modified in any way. That’s where the real skills are shown. Have a lovely day and thanks once again for the feedback! ❤ hugs

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  3. Quite nostalgic to read, a wonderful post.

    Yes, photography is an art but is loosing it relevance with advent of inbuilt digital camera in very device. It is about capturing the moment and preserving that memory forever…it needs time, it requires effort and it needs focus to get the best art captured. But it has become so easy and so convenience it is just taken for granted and it is done so very casual…

    Rightly said so top of it we have volumes of photos captured and it is instant unlike the past with just 36 films and good amount time that was required to process it and get the photos ready to be seen, the wait was worth it and it was adding the value the moments that was patiently and painfully captured.

    Indeed, the evolution of photography as a form of art is really fascinating, from all those old days with big device and time consuming process to today’s small devices to instant photos…the art in fact has undergone a metamorphosis. The image of camera evolution is reveling and very interesting to see…

    Lovely analysis on various facet of this journey of cameras and photography…
    😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for reading and for taking the time to share a few thoughts, Nihar! Your feedback is very much appreciated. It’s wonderful to see there are still people out there who appreciate the good old film camera. I also used to love the process of developing the photos, as you had no idea what would come out. Besides, it used to be a family activity, so bringing the members closer, was more important thank anything else. About the metamorphosis, I can’t say I’m excited about the way things evolved, as some of us don’t treat photography with the respect it was treated in the past. Still, the evolution of the cameras is fascinating. Have a lovely day and thanks again for your wonderful comment! All the best!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Photography is an art and like any other form of art, it needs time and patience to hone and emerge with all its beauty and glory…but as rightly said with the advent of digital photography it has become instant and the very charm we derived in the process of processing the film and waiting to get the picture in hand was magical…yes, it was activity that brought the family together and it was quite binding…it has radically changed.

        You have a lovely blog. I am enjoying your posts and we shall have more engaging discussion…looking forward!!!
        😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • Nihar, thank you so much for you kind words. People like you make me keep the blog going 🙂 I’m so happy to hear you love to read my posts. You absolutely nailed it: the charm is gone. I’m really sorry I don’t have any pictures of my dad developing photographs. That would have been something to immortalize. My last contact with a film camera was in December last year, when I experimented with a single use aquatic camera. Oh, the excitement when you wait for the photos … 🙂 I don’t get that too often lately, so it was a wonderful moment. Have a lovely day and thanks once again for your feedback!

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      • You are right Lucy, blogging is all about meaningful engagement on diverse topics. Like many other art form, so has been photography is slowly but certainly being over taken by the cacophony and glitz of technology…take the case of digital painting, the age old hand painting with brushes it’s artistic work is difficult to differentiate from the digital art.

        I had those old cameras and old films but with time and movement, it is all lost somewhere, I had also kept it as a memorabilia…

        My pleasure interacting with you and on such wonderful topics, I enjoy discussing on art, photography, writing, creativity…isn’t it so refreshing and enriching to have such meaningful dialogue…
        😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you so much! This is my main reason for writing. I had the chance to meet amazing people through WordPress. Creativity connects people in the best way possible.
        About painting, you just can’t compare modern art with old paintings. Those show real skills and inspiration. Art nowadays, unfortunately, suffered deep alterations and the result isn’t so impressive. Usually, paintings made today are only a few drops of color here and there….I just can’t call them art. As a painter myself, I expect to see more from a canvas. Pity …
        Same with photography. You expect more, as technology can be used in our advantage. Instead you receive selfies or bathroom pictures…. So yeah, so words needed for this.
        My pleasure as well to engage in beautiful talks. Looking forward to more conversations 🙂 Have a lovely day! x

        Liked by 1 person

      • It is so nice to engage in such beautiful dialogue on so many interesting topics, where else we would made such lovely friends and share so many different perspective, we keep unearthing new dimensions and it is so exciting…

        As a painter yourself you must have observed the finer nuances and differences in the way painting has evolved. Indeed no comparison between the traditional and so called modern digital art.
        Being having little personal interest in photography I have the seen the change and it has distorted the art. It is such a important form of art to capture our special moments…the novelty is lost now.
        Creativity is an all embracing and self empowering process, the more we do the more we desire…and I think it is good desire to keep the creative juice flowing and there can’t be a better means to keep the mind and soul engaged and harmoniously connected…

        It is wonderful interacting with you and indeed looking forward to more beautiful conversations.
        You too have a great day…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Indeed, that’s the main reason I love blogging. Besides, sometimes I write something because I want to know what other people think about a specific topic.
        I can’t say I’m a great painted, as you probably can see from the paintings I’ve posted so far, but I can tell you one thing: it takes a lot of work and dedication! Skills don’t come easy. But for me, it’s relaxing and I absolutely love to practice.
        I love creativity in all forms and I encourage it, as it inspires me as well to be surrounded by amazing people.
        All the best! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Quite right blogging has just expanded our horizon of thinking and the boundary of connection…
        And a medium has lifted the mood and means to hone and nurture creativity, though it is an isolated process but the outputs needs to be shared and engaging with readers and viewers and observers make us build on our creativity ability…
        We may not master or become a great artist but being involved in any art form is indeed relaxing and fulfilling…
        😀

        Liked by 1 person

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