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January 16, 2004

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The problem with progress is it usually tramples all over things that were good in order to make them better. Like this:

Kodak, the American company that turned photography into a mass medium with the Brownie, is to halt production of traditional cameras in Europe and America.

Like typewriters, the gramophone and video recorders before it, photography is succumbing to the digital hegemony. Millions of consumers have turned their backs on fumbling with films in favour of the ease of use and instant results of digital cameras.

We have an assortment of cameras at home, partly because Mrs M and I share a love of photography. We bought our first digital camera a couple of years back because it is convenient to download them and send the pictures out. It became even more important with the move to HK last year. Just before Christmas Mrs M invested in an SLR style digital camera that looks and feels just like a traditional one.

Yet we always keep our simple PHD* traditional camera handy too. Why? Because digital photos serve a purpose, and so do traditional film based photos. While the technology is getting better, this is case where reproduction of digital is inferior to analogue (film). The colours are clear, the pictures are crisper. I can put them up on my computer screen at work with a bit of sticky tape. I can pass them around. Digitals sit on a hard disk or in an email. I know you can get special digital photo printers but the photos are still better with film.

Most importantly is the fun that is to be had turning the pages of a photo album on a rainy Sunday afternoon. I want to hear JC saying "Look at Dad's daggy clothes" (shouldn't be hard to find those photos) or PB laughing at Mummy and Daddy's wedding album. Or pull out photos of a naked 2 year old JC to show to her boyfriend. Or compare how similar PB looks now to her Grandma at the same age.

You can't indulge nostalgia with digital photos.

* PHD = Press Here Dummy

posted by Simon on 01.16.04 at 02:51 PM in the


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Can't you just get digitals printed at the shop? My family did that with our last batch of digicam holiday photos and they turned out just fine. Couldn't tell the difference between them and PHD photos.

posted by: Nicholas Liu on 01.16.04 at 04:25 PM [permalink]

You can't even find film for an 8mm home-movie camera anymore. People see me aiming my ol' Nikon SLR and I can see it their faces; they're wondering why I'm living in the past. Grrr. Digital, in the end, really is cheaper, though. And the results are fine, I suppose. Whatever.

posted by: Tuning Spork on 01.19.04 at 09:53 AM [permalink]

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