I have forgotten the images that I just saw about twenty seconds back but still reminisce over the old photo albums, videos, magazines, that may be twenty years older. This made me ponder over the statement of Does a Picture still speak a thousand words?
Remember browsing through your first childhood photograph, with your peers, parents, neighbors, a fancy dress competition, a boy dressed as a girl or a girl dressed as a boy, a prize in school, a class photo, a picnic or an outing, a wedding album or a special function, that still preserved in hard copy — in short what one calls a MEMORABLE MOMENTS!
So exciting were those moments, perhaps the long wait itself made the moments special – Imagine getting a photograph clicked and waiting a week for the roll of 24/36 to get over, and then give it for developing in your local photo studio (studio those days meant a shop and not software!). Imagine those weddings, those birthday parties, those vacation trips that you captured some moments on the camera, and would have the negatives to be given to the studio.
The D-Day would be mostly a day after you gave it for developing, and one had to collect the photos mostly in the evenings. Most of us were more than prompt may be to reflect our eagerness to see the photographs, and the person who went to the studio got a sneak preview, so that the person could come home and give a review. Even taking a photo for you Identify card in school or college was a great event to check out your looks, appearances and impressions.
Those at home would also be eagerly waiting and once the person landed this was like carrying some medical report. Everyone wanted to catch a glimpse of the pictures. The first bureaucratic hurdle would be to ask them to wait so that the pictures could be put into the album provided free by the photo studio. But this would only complicate matters it would not be possible to circulate the photos one by one around to about half a dozen people. You peered through the shoulders of others to catch a glimpse of the photographs as if you were trying to peer into some celebrity figure that most of the times was you.
It was a luxury to possess a camera in those day, for one had to know the art of photography. Those round things that had to be adjusted to get the right focus, and get the people in the frame, watch for the right light, switch on the flash if necessary to get the photograph – it all appeared tedious till autofocus and auto-flash cameras were introduced in the market. Like Bathroom singers, there were photographers in every house, and one could click anything, anywhere and anytime. One did not have to specially call for the photographer – which was normally done only for functions.
Little later with the advent of video, came in the videographer too, who would do video shooting with that light boy standing next to them. These people too were normally called on occasions, and functions like marriage, or something formal. It gave us all that great kick to watch ourselves, relatives and friends on the screen. This for us was like some thriller movie and one could watch this endlessly without getting bored.
Cut to today, with so many choices available – a cellphone device can take pictures, videos, so can a normal camera. These devices can be operated by a five-year-old as the technology has got simpler and simpler. You can actually count those who are not photographing or filming.
Subjects were well thought out before capturing a picture or a film, and yes there were some candid moments too. The irony is that today we seem more eager to be capturing our artificial candid moments where one is actually posing.
There are many media sharing tools and sites on the web where one can upload albums, videos, and share these with the world. One does not have to go to the old photo studio and wait for whether the photos have to be developed in matt or gloss, and what size would it be regular, postcard or 4 x 6 or 5 x 7 and so on.
We are not limited by the number of rolls that we need to take pictures with. Neither are we limited by the duration of the video. We worry more about the file size and think of how it can be resized for quick sharing, which has almost become real-time. So from one photo camera, and film camera, we have come to a plethora of choices that have made photographers and film makers out of us. Has Social Media has caused this Visual explosion
But this has only brought us to the moot question – today thousand pictures don’t speak a word, we produce reams of video and can see things in light and sound, yet don’t find it exciting.
Is it because we are not living the memorable moments naturally!