A gentleman recently cornered me at a social gathering and huffed, “I miss the good old days of photography. All you needed then was a camera and a few rolls of film.” He gulped the last of his drink, scowled, and continued (without any encouragement from me): “Now you need computers and memory cards, hard drives, … and what the heck is the cloud anyway?”
I sympathize, but I don’t agree. I remember the good days too, but differently. I had to keep an eye on expiration dates for film that required refrigerated storage. I either had to process my own black-and-white images in a jury-rigged lab at home or send out my color work to a professional outfit that charged good money for its services. I don’t even want to know how much I spent over those years for processing and printing. And once I got it all back, I had to sort it, store it, and figure out how to get the best stuff in front of others.
Honestly, I don’t miss those days at all.
I didn’t say any of this to the nostalgic man with the now-empty drink. Instead, I found a semi-quiet table, pulled out my iPad Mini, and checked to see what my friends were publishing on Flickr. I showed a few of the best shots to a couple sitting next to me. We chatted for a minute about them, then went back to what we were doing before. If something interesting caught my eye in the room, I’d pull out my compact camera, take a photo, ...