WHAT’S THE POINT?

THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING A PHOTO ALBUM (in my opinion, anyways)

It’s difficult for me not to get nostalgic about photography. One of my fondest memories of elementary school is carrying around my Kodak 110 camera and snapping photos of my friends and teachers. That began my interest in scrapbooking. Even as a little 6th grader I was building my collection of photo albums. I continued taking photos of friends and family throughout my childhood and teen years and quickly built up volumes of scrapbooks depicting events like my first tattoo, first piercing, holidays, concerts and road trips. It wasn’t until I was out of high school that I bought my own 5 megapixel HP digital camera (oh, it was SO amazing to finally have my own digital camera!). But every moment prior to that had been captured with film and printed at the one hour photo lab.

I left my collection of scrapbooking supplies at my Mum’s home in Texas and since moving to Seattle I have, predictably, taken tons of photos (both film and digital), but hardly print any out because, what is a girl to do without her scrapbooking supplies?! That is, until last month when my boyfriend printed photos from our adventures during the past year together as a surprise anniversary gift. It was an incredibly thoughtful gesture and especially fun because these were his memories of our adventures, his point of view. I spent a Saturday afternoon trimming and arranging our photos in a salvaged photo album. But, even as I was creating our new album I was questioning my effort and time spent on this thing, this book of images that will most likely just sit on our self, taking up space. What’s the point in print, trimming and arranging photos in an album when I can keep hundreds of images on my external hard drive, or online on my Snapfish account, or saved in an email?

The answer is the same reason why I enjoy reading a newspaper or magazine, rather than skimming a computer screen: I want to feel connected to what I’m holding and viewing. Holding a photo gives me the time to pause and reflect on the image, the occasion, the memory. The abundance and bombardment of social media has indeed made it easier to send and share photos with friends and family through cyberspace, but I can’t help but feel that one of the consequences is the ability to amass an absurd amount of contrived and useless photographs.

The flexibility in digital photography is great in that it allows for plenty of room for error and experimentation in image making, but the element of surprise and concentration that a person may use more cautiously in film photography is something that is taking for granted.

In summary, LONG LIVE FILM PHOTOGRAPHY!

And just so this isn’t a rant without an image, here’s one of my favorite photos I took in El Paso, TX with my Diana Mini, using black and white Arista 400 ISO.

Diana Downtown

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