A free-verse poem about vintage photographs versus today's digital images.
|I’m old, born in 1944.
I’ve seen vintage photographs
that were taken of me and my family
throughout my entire childhood.
Many were displayed lovingly
in photograph albums with notes
handwritten by my mother.
These photographs were made with
the latest Kodak camera of that time.
It required first loading the roll of film manually,
taking an exposure with everyone staying very still,
manually advancing the film to the next frame,
using a new flashbulb for each indoor exposure,
then, after all the pictures on the roll were exposed
(sometimes involving several occasions over months),
unloading the metal container housing the roll of film,
taking the roll to the local photo shop for developing,
returning a few days later for both the negatives
and the printed pictures themselves for first viewing.
Because of the trouble involved and the expense,
taking photographs was reserved for special occasions –
birthdays, Christmas, Easter’s new clothes and the loot
left by the Easter Bunny, school plays, graduations,
family gatherings for any special event from weddings,
to funerals to Thanksgiving Day feasting, and vacations.
Hence, these photographs marked important days
of one’s life growing up. They were special.
These photographs became family treasures.
Nowadays people take dozens and dozens
of pictures with their cellular telephones.
Selfies abound. Everyday events seem
to require documentation with copious pictures
shared on social media and in e-mails.
Oh, look. See what my lunch meal looks like.
Picture taking has lost its significance,
has become trivial in our modern culture.
Rarely does the digital image get printed
into an actual paper photograph.
Instead it becomes just another image lost
among hundreds stored on yet another disc
or it gets deleted as unworthy to keep.
As with most things that become abundant,
too commonplace, and easily accomplished,
taking photographs today has been devalued
and holds no special place in people’s hearts.
I’m not certain this is a good thing.
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