Written by Elliot Stern and Edited By Brian Zwit
The title says it all. It refers to every one of us. The story of our lives, and no matter how you perceive your lives. the story deserves to be and should be preserved either in a diary or photo albums.
Truthfully the camera industry has gotten it wrong while the phone industry has given us back the old Brownie camera concept. Just push a button and record a moment. The camera industry wants everyone to think of themselves as “fine art” photographers or roaming street photographers We are not all “fine art” photographers. Most of us are happy just taking a good photograph wherever we are and with whoever we are with. The phone industry understands this fundamental concept. The camera manufacturers and their cohorts no longer do; they started to lose their focus on recording a memory for memories sake somewhere in the late 1950’s and 60’s when SLR cameras were entering the market place. It’s focused blurred further in the 80’s when digital cameras became commonplace.
I have been looking at photographs my family took starting way back in the 1930’s.
There are just so many of them and what is really inspiring to me is that they tell a story of my families moments in time with each other and with their friends. These memories were created with Kodak Brownie cameras as well as others that may have existed at that time.
These were simple devices. All one had to do was properly load the film. It came in several sizes but for most people the 12 exposure roll was the go to and all the person who was holding the camera had to do was look through the waist level window, frame the subject (person or persons) and push a button and then send off the finished roll of film to Kodak. Strange as it may seem the exposures were pretty darn good and, based on film and paper technology, were designed to last a very long time.
Included amongst all the images were Polaroid shots. This system for those of you do not remember enabled the person taking the pictures to watch them develop right in front of them and their family and friends. Back then I would have never believed that these Polaroid images would have any longevity, but they look as good today as when they were first created. If you follow the photo industry today when it comes to technology you may also be aware that Fujifilm has a system called Instax which also makes instant cameras and film, There are others but the Fuji products in this case are more cost-effective and perhaps a better way to go. There is also another company called Lomography that makes a more advanced camera using the same Fuji Instax film.
But no matter what kind of camera you use today, it still all boils down to recording our memories. It does not matter if it is a small compact camera, a phone camera, or a sophisticated mirrorless or dSLR or medium format camera. Using those cameras and creating and saving the moments of YOUR life is what taking pictures should be about. And I am not forgetting the fact that today’s exceptional cameras can also take video memories as well.
Pictures coming out of all types of cameras today are really exceptional and I will go out on limb and say almost 95 percent of them do not require much help to create incredible images. And yes, for those who want to go a step further there is wonderful software that will let you catalog your images and tweak an image which may or may not be necessary. Today I shoot with Fuji X cameras and to be quite honest, while I like the fact that it does raw images, I have yet to be disappointed by the jpeg files it produces. And I am sure that this is more than likely happening with all brands.
So spend less time trying to be a fine art photographer or stealthy street photographer and simply push the button and record “A Kodak Moment” about your lives. Someday a family member, a partner, children may look back like I am doing and learning how my family lived and how they loved.