Monday, December 7, 2009
Lights, camera, action!
When we were kids, or at least when I was a kid, the family camera was a sacred thing. You were not allowed to touch it. The camera was my moms domain and she kept it on a very high shelf. The idea of even taking 1 simple picture was a laughable offense. "Film costs too much," my mother would say. And that was that. It was made very clear to me at an early age that the camera was not a toy.
When I was ten I decided to buy my own camera. This was considered a weird undertaking for a kid back in 1982. But I just wanted to have the chance to take all the fun and silly pictures I had always dreamed of. I thought my pictures would tell stories and be worthy of praise to the highest degree. I imagined that I would be making movies in still life. I could recreate Star Wars with kodak film and some action figures.
My first roadblock was my parents. They thought I didn't need to spend my paper route money on a frivolous purchase. Why couldn't I save my money like my brother? My brother never spent any money as a kid. If he wanted Van Halen's 1984 he would simply convince me to buy it, then he would reap all the benefits. (there is a lesson there. Hmmm?) Anyway I convinced my parents that $39.99 was a good deal for a camera. It was a disc camera. In the early 80's it was the cool new thing because it was cheap and you didn't need to load the film. Just snap the disc in place and you were ready to go. Wow! Fucking technology!
I proceeded to take all sorts of silly photos. I still have many of them in a special album I made. Before and after shots of me with a BB gun and then me with a bloody ketchup stained forehead. My pictures were never as much fun as I imagined, mainly because I would take them and then I would have to wait to develop them, which cost money. Then of course more film cost more money. I quickly was distracted toward other things. What I really wanted was a polaroid. Instant pictures! If only I could afford it. Sigh.
Years later, in my 20's, I bought a Polaroid and took tons of fun pictures. I took them with the same enthusiasm I had when I was ten, but I could see my great pieces of art instantly. It was amazing! At this point in history disposable cameras were all the rage, so if my wife and I went on vacation we just bought a couple cameras, used them up, and had them developed.
So here we are. In the future. the magical year 2000 is in the past. Now we have digital cameras. You can take as many pictures as you like, and you can see them instantly. It blows my 10 year old mind. So when my 4 year old son asks me if he can take a picture, I hand the camera to him and say, "go nuts." Kirk took a bunch of pictures. Most of them were of his own fingers or the TV. We've come a long way baby.