Guest column | From film to reels: photography through the ages

The word “photography” conjures up images of smiling faces, beautiful landscapes and much more. Although recording videos has become much more common these days, stills have their charm, at least for me.

Kids of the 90s, the generation I belong to, often find themselves ruminating on the myriad changes they’ve witnessed, and I’m no exception when it comes to photography.

I remember loading our Kodak cameras with rolls before heading out for special occasions, events, and vacations. Each negative was valuable because, unlike the cameras on our smartphones, the number of photos that could be clicked on was limited. While being clicked, people would take care to strike the perfect pose with the perfect smile. Hopefully we hadn’t blinked or looked away at the crucial moment because we would get the developed photographs much later. The photographer had to make sure no one was cut out of frame.

From visiting the studio for a passport-sized photo, whether for admissions forms or job applications and the edited photo for sending matrimonial correspondence, to the Gen Z and Alpha selfie epidemic, a lot happened between the two. From carefully flipping through the leaves of my parents’ wedding album and admiring the grayscale yet graceful photographs, to getting bright colorful images with just one slightly extended touch on my phone, we’ve come a long way. Filters, Snapchat, Photoshop and drones are all the rage these days.

My younger brother is getting married soon and the wedding preparations include a pre-wedding photo shoot. Thanks to technology, the professional wedding cameraman will also be the master of ceremonies during the engagement ceremony, as multitasking is all the rage these days. I vividly remember school picnics and farewells to college when my handy (now very obsolete) digital camera was in high demand. It was a gift from my older brother who had moved to the United States, and it was my most prized possession. It’s been so long since it’s been taken out that I’d be hard pressed to remember which drawer it’s safely stored in.

With more techniques and facilities at our disposal, we began to document our lives more frequently. We even tend to watch live events on our mobile screens. It also reminds me of a photo of an elderly lady enjoying an event without any gadgets in hand, while the people around them held their cameras and fancy phones. The photo caption read, “She’s the only one who really knows how to enjoy.”

The trend has crept up on me and I find myself getting a little freaked out when I’m unable to capture a view or a moment, even though I approve of the caption and try hard to be right at the time . I also freak out when my gadget memory is full and I need to delete videos and pictures to do more!

While discussing my attire for the upcoming wedding and the ceremonies leading up to and following the main event, colleagues and friends showed me their attire for different functions and the latest fashion trends on their mobile screens. .

I couldn’t help but remember my older brother’s wedding preparations about eighteen years ago, when my friends shared ideas while sketching dresses on a piece of paper. Who knows what we’ll see when my 10 year old son is this old! Far in the future, yes, but it certainly makes me wonder. In the meantime, let’s all say cheese!

(The author is Assistant Professor, Psychology, Rajiv Gandhi Govt College, Ambala)

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