Once not long ago, we photographers used our square contraptions to capture the vision we see on film. Whether a snapshot or “Art”, we would open our shutters to expose an emulsion of chemicals capturing the light we see in our vision. The instruments of our past kept our images locked in this chemical emulsion until our lab produced the negative and prints. With much anticipation we would wait for the appointed hour the images were available. Only quieting our excitement once we had shared our vision with family and friends.
Digital photography has changed that anticipation to instant gratification. Now, we press the shutter release and wait for our image to appear instantly. Not instant as the 45 to 60 seconds we used to wait for a Polaroid to process. No shaking, no peeling for our image. Today it is there on the back of our camera. Instant! Delivered before our eyes in the same second our shutter clicks open then closed. Instant! We can share our new image with everyone in seconds. Some will argue this instantaneous process is not a joy. I submit, whether the image is “Art” or a snapshot, our image is the vehicle that transports a memory for all involved. It is this that is the real joy of digital photography. It is the excitement in each of us to see and relive the moments of time together and places we go without having to wait for the image to be released from it chemical carrier.
The joy of digital photography is the excitement in the eyes and heart of the next generation. Come with me as I share a story that I witnessed. My wife and I had stopped in at the local Costco to plan for the coming school year. We are pricing items we will need throughout the coming year. As a lot of photographers, I am a people watcher. I notice a young family shopping. Their conversation goes like this: “you are taking lots of pictures” Mom said to her young son. You see, the young boy had his mother’s digital camera. While his mother pushed him in the shopping cart, he would bring the camera up and snap a picture of the subject of his interest. I watched his eyes each time and that excitement showed. Excitement! Seeing the image, that inspired him to release the shutter, appear on the back of the camera. And later that evening, there will be the excitement of sharing the memories with his mother and father.
Memories are the lasting joy of photography. With digital photography, we can relive those memories sooner (like on the way home from a trip. No waiting to get home and drop the film to be processed. The background image that accompanies this post is an image of a young girl that is fascinated with the baskets created by a street artist. The picture is of my daughter I captured many years ago on film. It was on one of our family trips that we love to take. It is the memories that continue to bring excitement to her face. It is the memories that my wife and I share from our time wandering around the old city. It is an image that illustrates memories we love and discussed on our trip home. We waited a week for the image to be processed. This image is often the catalyst to relive those memories.
Sharing is the joy of digital photography. As photographers, we have the gene for sharing. Why else would we invest the time? We are teachers. We are called to inspire the next generation and teach them our craft. What better tool to teach the craft to a new generation. I do not believe we ignore the techniques of the past but the digit camera allows us to teach composition far easier. Remember without those willing to share their passion for the craft, where will the next generation develop the passion of an Ansel Adams, Edward Weston or George Hurrell.