Taking pictures was a huge deal when i was a kid. i know i sound quite old when i say this. But look how the world has changed in the last 15 years!! i have a couple of pictures of my own childhood where the photos have been taken in a studio because we did not have a camera then. One of them is a one-year-old me standing in a walker. Obviously my parents must have carried it all the way so that i could pose with it!
|Here I am with my walker in the studio|
|Another one in the studio when I was 5|
Even when cameras did become common, they were brought out only during special events like birthdays or holidays. One had to be careful with the number of clicks because the film roll had limited capacity. And then you had to go through the lengthy process of getting the film developed and wait for the developed photos to arrive. We could, then, put them in a plastic photo album and proudly pass it around.
And then came mobile phones. Or rather the era of smart phones ushered in a new facet of the camera. Everyone now had one in their pocket. It was pretty exciting to be able to capture moments which was just a luxury before. As technology got better, we got better megapixels for high quality photos. Finally, it was time for the humble camera to take a bow and move on from popular space.
The phone cameras now have more storage and a plethora of editing and sharing options. You can instantly click pics and share them with family and friends. Distances don’t matter. It might be something as inane as your new dress or something as important as the first smile of your child. A family gathered for a meal or a mundane dish you cooked. It’s almost like the cameras have a cultural significance in our times! Their influence has even changed language as we know it and added new words like selfies and groupies.
|In kids' hands|
While it is great to be able to share your lovely moments, too much of anything can’t be good. i recently realised that we are most obsessed with this feature of the phone. We are so fixated by taking pictures of anything we like/wear/see/find that i think we have forgotten to live in the moment. The easier it is on the touch phones the more we click! Several photos of the same frame just to be sure we get a good one. And then transferring and editing them is a total pain.You may deny but try and recall what do you do every time you come across something nice? i know i have been hung up on taking pics too. So much so that instead of remembering the actual experience, i would just have the picture to vouch for the experience.
i think this phenomenon hit me harder when i noticed kids, my nieces, aged 7 and 5, emulate us to the tee! Nothing was complete without taking a pic. There is competition for who gets to take a pic. There are demands/tantrums or anything that would get them their parents’ phone to do it. Or better still, the iPod doubles as a camera part from being a gaming device. It is some kind of a show-off exercise in kids that age! Did we fail in our duty to teach our kids to live-in-the-moment? Are they going to grow up addicted to something like this? Is there a way to ‘wean’ them off this habit? I don’t have answers.
I am definitely not the photo-a -minute person. Only when i feel something might make sense do i pull out my phone and take an odd picture. And trust me, i am doing fine. i am not missing anything by not saving up for posterity. In fact. i have gained the invaluable pleasure of living in the moment. So the next time you fish out your phone to click pictures, think about it. You may be actually missing the significance of the real thing!