Saturday, May 26, 2007

Digital Photography - Lesser Fun ?

There was a time when I had a Nikon camera (something similar to KB10. A toy camera, you can say). No Zoom and no focus settings. I didn't even know what they were, then. But there was one thing about having this camera, that I dont find pleasure in my current DSC H5.

I used to buy Film rolls, once in two months. At my family conditions I could spare Rs. 75 for a Konica film. But after clicking the pictures, I need to develop and print. That could cost approximately Rs. 225 plus. This means effectively Rs. 300 for a photographic experience. This was expensive. I could buy geometry boxes, school bags, tiffin boxes and fancy straw water bottles. So, the rarest occassions when I was allowanced with a film roll, i was careful on my shots and made an optimal use of it. Lets say I load the camera with a film (that has 36), i would take pictures atleast until end of that month.

The deal is not money, or the no. of wasted pictures. The deal is the wait to see the picture I took at the beginning of the month.

I dont know for atleast 30 days, how the picture would come out.


You may claim photography as an art, but the basic funda behind it is freezing the time. It records time, captures the moments and acts as a reference point for your memories of the occasion. I like the memory part of it.

When I order prints on a maxi, I used to insist that the prints be on Matt paper and not Glossy, simply because I wanted to tell those guys I was an expert (duh !) then. I also tell them that I was going to wait there for One hour and collect the pictures. That one hour I'm almost a husband of a pregnant woman inside the operation theatre. Finally the prints are delivered, and I quickly browse through them in the Studio itself. That's when I figure out that so many necks were cut. Some of them had blurred. Some of the close-up shots made dirty by the flash. One of them will be good. Certainly the best of the pack.

That is enough satisfaction for me. I pat on my back for that photo. The studios usually give a complimentary Film roll for every D&P (not sure if it exists now). I throw a mild surprise at them, take the film roll and walk out of the studio, almost shouting "Ill be back".

These printed photos go inside a big cardboard box, where age-old photos reside.

I frequent these photos every once in a while. Sit down and relax in the pool of memories. Every photo has a story, a history. I spend my time recollecting them. There are photos of my grandfather that my uncle took. When I touch his photo, and move my fingers on his face, I feel as though I feel his skin. Can't do that on a monitor can you ?

Digital Cameras certainly have minimized the cost of printing. You can keep shooting pictures without the worry of a film getting exhausted. No more parallelax errors. WYSIWYG (well, not all the times).

But how many of you print the photos from your Digital Cameras ? Ok, we store them on PCs. We have slide shows. We throw graphical presentations. But how frequently do we recollect the old photos.

This may not be true for all, but most of us click some meaningless photos in the name of art and store them on PCs. We loose interest in looking back at them, and eventually loose interest on all other photos as well. Eventually they eat up our Hard Disk memory and we start deleting photos.

What is the point in taking a photo, if you are not going to look at it later ?

How frequently do you look back at your photos ??


Anonymous said...

What is the point in taking a photo, if you are not going to look at it later ?

This is like questioning....why do you have food when you cannot take a look at it later...?

SayMee said...

Hi Keerthi,
Nice post. Makes me think on the same lines as you.


Dhana said...

Good One!!! Digi cam make us possible to try different thing, but still i dont get the perfection with my old OLYMPUS

Anonymous said...

i think this is a great article Keerthi.. how true that! we never print the (mostly nonsensical) pics we shoot with our digicams. one reason is that we do so much experimentation while shooting it wont make sense to print it all.. and we are too lazy to sit and sort and print and file them in an album. But the feel of touching a photo canNOT be replaced by seeing it on the monitor. i think one thing we could do is to make it a habit to print atleast 10 pics a month and file them in an album.. would be diffcult to keep it going but that somehow strikes a balance between the convenience of digital image processing and the feeling you get when you take a photo in your hand and look at it. Keerthi bring this one to Cognizant blogs.. lets discuss it there.


vasa said...

Was browsing through - and this post --fantastic man....i have done all the things u have mentioned - i had a yashica thou...same 300bucks in the early 1990's - i somehow thought that without any controls on aperture, shutter - almost anything - we still got the satisfaction of capturing something.

prabukarthik said...

good one keerthi!

I could relate to the "prasava aaspathri la husband" part :) been there, done that.

i agree to yr take on touching and feeling photographs.

I also agree that indiscriminate clicking does not a phorograph make. but i definitely go back to my well taken fotos, even in digital. so the key is how good we are in what we do, not the format.

Digital has taken photography to the junta, just like blogging has enabled wannabe writers to write.

reminiscing about printed photographs is very personal.. on
the other hand if u want o share yr latest trip with yr buddy across the world, its digital definitely..