Photo Madness

Originally written in 2008, never published:

My guess is that the three of us came back with anywhere between 1200-1500 photos from our recent trip to New York. On our bus trip around Manhattan, almost every person on board had a digital camera…you were constantly getting out of the way of somebody trying to take a picture somewhere. In fact, you kept your eyes open for them (and they for us I guess!) as the middle of a street or a familiar landmark suddenly became a back drop for a family photo album. I spent the whole day yesterday trying to find a website to upload my photos, but most of them restrict you in numbers or make it so complicated that you spend hours just trying to rotate a shot or add a caption. Finally, I created one through the Google program called Picasa. And here it is:

New York June 2008

 (Sadly, the link no longer works…)If you click on the photo, you can see the album either shot by shot or as a slide show. I uploaded about 141 shots, but had plenty more. Many either didn’t work out or became irrelevant, or just seemed stupid once I looked at them later! I think I took a photo or two of my lap or the ground below me. Half of the time, the sun was shining in the little screen viewer and I couldn’t see what I was shooting. Or I didn’t have my glasses on. That happens a lot 🙂 These days, digital cameras can come with nice big LCD displays that you have to be blind not to be able to see. I need one of those. Sometimes I miss not being able to look through the little viewfinder of an old film camera that has the rubber around it so the light doesn’t get in your eyes.

But I digress.

I wonder how much we’ll really look back at all of these photos after a few years have passed. I can imagine that if you look at them often enough, they’ll just imprint on your brain somewhere and you won’t need to see them anymore. Maybe one day, we’ll get little chips implanted in our brains that will play back slide shows of digital photos of our entire lives.

But isn’t that what memories are for? In fact, I remember on a couple of occasions during the trip where I just put the camera down and decided to simply look around for awhile, or when I told someone taking a photo of me to stop for a minute and just soak up the atmosphere.

You can’t really take a photo of the feel of a place, you need to use your physical body to do that. And if we spend our whole time just taking digital photos, we’re really missing something.

After all that work yesterday, I have been hesitating over the idea of emailing my friends and family a link to the photos. I mean, maybe a couple of them will truly want to see them…but do they really? Remember how it used to be a joke, the idea of watching somebody else’s family vacation slides? Maybe this is really the same thing. Who cares? There might be a good shot or two in there, but the experience really belongs to me, and I can’t translate that experience to somebody else. Not really.

I remember the evening we were on top of the Empire State Building and I commented to someone that you really can’t take a bad picture from up there. Well, I figured out later that if you’re me, you can :-). But for any of you who don’t mind flipping through 141 shots of a vacation you never took, you’re most welcome to check the album out. And I promise that if you send me a link to your family vacation photos, I’ll check them out. Either that or I won’t and say I did :-).


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