Many monitors ago I went to school—the old one! While I did not like homework and classes I did like the materials—pens, paper, and books. These were tactile supplies that I could touch, feel, and understand. As I graduated from grade to grade these senses became my comfort zone in a period that was turning to hard drive. When the screens came down on computers I turned off. I avoided any college course description that even hinted at the C word!
So, is it any surprise that I am behind the times and quite comfortable living with the Flinstones when the Jetsons have taken off? As a writer I appreciate a picture. That’s why I take them—with a Minolta and Fuji film. Yes, I still get my pictures developed CVS. I know, I could be a star in Ripley’s believe it or not—taking pictures with an antique camera! My kid’s lives were chronicled with a click. Twenty-four exposures later details were hand-printed on the back and slid into the sleeves of a photo album, of which I now have 22 spanning 28 years.
The albums, neatly organized by ages and dated by years, take up closet space that could be put to better use with my kids’ clothes. However, I want to put my fingers on the history of my family at a moment’s notice. But when actually called upon to perform the simple task of finding photographs for a particular occasion the water main breaks and I am flooded with memories. As I touch the past with the pads of my fingers I see a future with my eyes. After all my years as the photographer dedicated to preserving scenes I could be phased out. And wouldn’t that be something–to be snubbed by a cold piece of machinery with guts made of steel?! A digital screen has an On/Off switch to power up emotions for a few fleeting seconds, and then power down as the images slide out of view. At least if you push my buttons you will be able to hold on to the hearts and souls staring back at you.
For me there is something more personal about being able to reach into the past and take a photo out that you can touch and pass around. It is just a warmer experience than that of an electronic. But as soon as I take down one album I feel compelled to take down another and another, until I succumb like dominoes to being Lost in Pictures as opposed to being Lost in Space on some Cloud!
I grasp the moments of my children’s lives with my mind, transporting me back in time. I turn the plastic covered pages and look at the history of my family repeat itself at a slow, leisurely pace. Then I start to imagine being in the pictures, literally, looking out. From that perspective I can simply move from one milestone to the next. I am front and center in the background after having already taken the picture in the foreground. It would be an Academy Award winning performance to be on the inside looking out the window and on the outside looking in. Reliving the scripted parts creates a cozy house full of sentiments that are not subject to programmed computer codes. That’s like the 8th Wonder of the World!
The shutterbug in me will continue to go against the machine of choice at this place in time. Electronics evoke a passion for less. The faces on a picture bring the spirits of my children to life. I would rather leave a footprint that speaks a thousand words than one that is a component of white noise. It’s just the way I am wired!