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Random Thoughts

Picture perfect

Hudson Cooper
Posted 9/3/21

Modern technology has greatly devastated many industries. Probably one of the hardest hit are camera companies. For most of us who were alive in BCP, we have memories of how we used to take pictures. …

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Random Thoughts

Picture perfect


Modern technology has greatly devastated many industries. Probably one of the hardest hit are camera companies. For most of us who were alive in BCP, we have memories of how we used to take pictures. By the way, BCP is “before cell phones.” Growing up most of us had cameras that relied solely on film and processing stores to get our photographs developed.

The Polaroid company, attempting to eliminate the need to drop film off to be developed, introduced the first camera, the Land Model 95, with “instant photography” in 1948. The developer (pardon the pun) of the camera was Edwin Land. He got the idea when his young daughter started crying when she could not instantly see a picture her daddy took.

If you could afford that camera, for the first time, you could see your photograph in a matter of minutes. There was no need to wait a week for your roll of film to be developed, only then to find out the birthday boy had his eyes closed. The problem was it proved to be too costly for most Americans.

In the 1960’s Polaroid developed an instant camera that most people could afford. The negative would slide out after each shot and then required you to rub on the contents of a bad smelling tube to “fix” the photograph for posterity.

By posterity I mean enjoying your instant photos for a few weeks before they were stored in your attic next to the box of your collection of Mickey Mantle baseball cards. Eventually most of your instant photos and those baseball cards would be thrown out when the family moved. As an aside, a rookie Mickey Mantle baseball card, of which I had many, now sells for about $100,000 in good condition. My cards, never flipped nor tossed closest to the wall, were pristine. Easy come, easy go.

To get the word out about their less expensive version of the instant camera, Polaroid gave cameras and film to three already famous artists. Ansel Adams, David Hockney and Andy Warhol spread the word through their talents. Their pictures became the basis for the International Polaroid Collection that toured the world.

Later models of cellphones were the beginning of the end for the instant camera. When cell phones began including a better built-in camera, you could take a picture and immediately see if someone had their eyes closed or forgot to smile. Since you no longer had to bring in film to be developed, people did not have to worry about that additional expense.

So as Photomats, those little booths in parking lots, began to go out of business, people with cell phones took unlimited pictures without the need for film.

If you have a cell phone, take a minute to go to your home page. Find the icon that says photos and click on it. If you are like most of us, you have uncovered hundreds, if not thousands of pictures that you have taken from the first moment you bought the cell phone.

When you first started taking pictures with your cell phone you took the time to sort them into albums found in your photo icon. You even probably named your albums with titles such as Favorites, Recents and Family. You took the time to sort them for a week or two.

But eventually as you really got into taking pictures of everything and every moment in your life, you stopped putting them in categories. If you had continued sorting them in albums, they would have titles such as Lunch Pictures, My Cat and another, which after 3 failed attempts to spell miscellaneous, an album called Others.

Thanks to the camera in your cell phone, you can instantly take and save images from your life. There is no need to buy film nor have it developed. All you need is your cell phone and the patience to scroll through your two thousand saved photos to find the one taken 2 years ago of your dog licking the Thanksgiving turkey.


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