Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Picture This

If a picture is worth a thousand words, I suppose I could have saved a lot of time by making this a photo-blog. I also wonder if that valuation has changed at all in the world of digital photography. It used to be that when you took a photo, you would hope that the control you had over the exposure and light and the relative stillness of the subject would suffice to become a signpost for memories. Looking at all those pictures when they came back from the lab, there was no turning back. You had that strip of negatives, and if you wanted to get prints, you could mark those and -
But we never did. We just took the pictures and when that roll came back from the developers we were happy with what we got. Who know from a pixel back then? I can remember the idea of one hour film developing. Drop it off in the morning, pick it up at night. I can even remember where the local Fotomat was.
But who cares? Now we can take dozens of snaps of any moment or any event. As long as our battery holds out, we can take pictures of ourselves standing on that same ledge for days in hope of getting just the right shot. I can remember being admonished not to waste film by making faces at the camera that had been pointed at me. Now we make a game out of photo-bombing our friends and strangers alike. I can remember that getting a roll of super eight movie film would take a week or more to come back to me. Now I just push that little button on my phone and watch as it unfolds. If I don't like what I see on playback, I press delete and do it all over again.
So it is for these reasons that I believe we should reconsider that exchange of one picture to each thousand words. I am guessing that five hundred would do at this point. I might suggest that what you have read so far has done a fair amount of stirring your gray matter, perhaps even to the point of creating a picture or two in your mind. If I had a mind to suggest that you imagine a blue giraffe hunched over a plate of  greens in a booth at Denny's while a snowstorm raged outside, you might generate an image or two of your own. Or maybe you have spent the past few moments recalling your particular past experiences with photos, digital or otherwise. The strip of four that came from that booth in the front of K-Mart. Or the one you took of your dog after she had gone ten rounds with the puddle out back. Whatever the picture, whenever it was, words struggle to keep pace with all those colors. The lights, the darks, the shadows. And maybe they will make you smile. Like these five hundred words did.

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