Monday, April 25, 2011

You Ought To Be In Pictures

I am a snap happy photo fanatic. There. The first step toward recovery is admitting that you have a problem. I don’t know if I fear I will lose my memory or if it’s that I think my subjects are just so great that they deserve to be immortalized in pictures. Whatever the case, I cannot seem to stop flashing…my camera.
When I was a girl of twelve, I got my first camera. It was a small, cheap, rectangular type that needed a flash bulb and tower. (yes, I am THAT old) My cousin and I took a few black and white photos (yes...I am that old, as well) at her place and I thought it was the greatest thing. The next step was colour film. 
Unfortunately, that camera was not like the digital cameras of today where you can take as many pictures as you like and delete whichever ones are not up to par. Back then you had to be sure of which picture you wanted to take before you took it, because you didn’t want to waste the film. All cameras were film back in the day, and when you were twelve, it wasn’t cheap. I would save up my allowance just to buy film and then go out into the neighbourhood to see if there was anything interesting happening. I accumulated quite a few films before seeing how skilled a photographer I was...or was not, as it cost more money to get it developed. And there was no one hour waiting either, it took a week or more before you got the pictures. We definitely had more patience back then. Eventually, when I started making money babysitting, I upgraded to disposable cameras which, although more expensive, had built-in film and flash to make things much easier.
It was always a fun, exciting day when I picked up my developed pictures. You never knew what you were going to get. Some would turn out, some would be black and some you couldn’t remember where they were taken or what they were supposed to be. The odd time you would even get a roll that was double exposed, something you never get with digital cameras. Since most of my pictures were of family and neighbourhood kids, when I had extra money, I would get “double prints” to share.  They were usually just pictures of kids hanging out or playing football or baseball in my aunt and uncle's back field, but to me, they were…connection.
Looking back, I can see that my camera was a liaison between me and the others around me. I was shy and, as such, not a big talker, so taking photos and talking about the resulting pics was one way for me to stay involved. A couple of years back I posted a few of said photos on my Facebook  page, much to the delight and feigned chagrin of my old friends, creating connections once again.
These days my digital camera is my constant companion, as I carry it in my purse everywhere. Although some people may get exasperated by my incessant snapping and never-ending on-line album uploads, my addiction is, for the most part, harmless. No intervention needed. Besides, connecting with friends… old or new is not a bad thing. Just ask Mark Zuckerburg.

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