The Scott Shaw Blog Be Positive

Photo Not Worth the Taking

I was up on the top level of the Eiffel Tower last week. I go to Paris periodically. I truly like the city. If all of the Persians would just stop smoking everywhere, it would be a great place. I guess no one gave them the memo about just how bad smoking is for the all and the everything of everybody.

Anyway… Though I go to Paris periodically, I don’t think I’ve been up on the Eiffel Towel since like maybe ’83. Just too touristy. But, I was up there…

This couple walked up to me and asked me to take a photo of them with this very cheap, old-school, yellow plastic film camera. You know one of those with the cheap plastic lenses. As I always do in those situations, I passed the photo duties over to my lady. I mean, hey, she has a BFA in photography and if I took the photograph I would have to charge them a lot of money as it would be a Scott Shaw. Happy

The point being, and something my lady and I immediately discussed post the photo taking is, why would anyone use a camera like that? In this day and age, when everyone has at least a good camera in their phone, if not a great one, why go back and visit the past, (where there were fewer options for the financially challenged), in order to just get and come away with a crappy photograph?

I’ve seen this a lot over the past decade or so. I mean, once upon a time, when DVD technology came along, people could not get rid of their VCRs fast enough. Then came the minor resurgence of the VHS. People contact me all the time asking me if I have any of my Zen Films on video tape. Yes, video tape has a look, but is it better? My answer is, no.

This is the same when there was the cassette resurgence. And the vinyl resurgence, which has wained, but is still going on. Is it different? Yes. Is it better? No.

For some reason, people look to this past with some weird sort of envy. They wish they were there. Certainly, eras like the 60s and the 80s draw up all kinds of worshipers. But, what is depicted on the silver screen or in photographs is not what was actually lived. I won’t go into all of that but just take my word for it. If you were there, great. If not, don’t fantasy about it. It wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be.

So, what does this tell us? It tells us: things change, times change. Technology makes things better. Yeah, you can look to the past if you want to. Yeah, you can still find a cheap crappy camera if you want to embrace the past. But, why? Ten years down the road do you want to look at a photograph where you can actually make out the faces and the scenery or do you want to look at a faded out blur of that time and that place that can never be lived again?