The way we view the worldPublished 8:29am Tuesday, March 5, 2013
The hall closet had slowly been filling up since we moved into the house. For more than 30 years, it held the equipment we used to record our lives. Cameras, often bought but never sold, occupied every shelf. The closet was the graveyard, so to speak, of all the technology I had purchased over the years.
I had been putting this purge off for years. In my heart, I knew the only person that might want that old giant video camera was likely a museum. It was larger than my children when they were born.
Most of the events of my children’s earliest years I watched through the viewer of this ridiculously large machine. It recorded directly onto a video cassette, itself now a dinosaur piece of technology.
At least I will make a little money if I sell all these old cameras, I thought. A quick call to the nearest camera store let me know times have changed. “Sell them on eBay,” the clerk said over the phone. He was probably chuckling to himself as we hung up.
Still not sensing the true value of these treasures, I checked out eBay to see what other people were selling their cameras for these days. I had to sift through two pages of camera listings before I found a camera that someone had even bid on. The higher of the two bids was the grand total of 6 cents.
I looked at the pile of once expensive cameras and realized that I was looking at the price of technological change. Always having been a gadget person, I would buy the latest and greatest camera, under the pretext of preserving my children’s history.
How proud I was of the telephoto lens that allowed me to catch them unaware from across the yard. I could not wait to get the high speed camera that let me get a good shot at a tennis match. The sophisticated flash literally turned the night into day. All of them are now practically worthless.
The digital camera I now use can take pictures fast and true. Software can even take a poor quality picture and fix it up so it looks great. Kodak, the giant company that brought photography into every home, is now bankrupt. It is just another victim of the digital age.
Even the high tech digital camera I use now is slowly finding its way into the closet. My iPhone takes pictures of better quality that one could have imagined just a couple of years ago. It also takes video, records sound, and lets me send the image to anyone around the world seconds after I have seen the real thing.
It is hard turning loose of those things that were such a big part of your life. I didn’t get rich but I do have more closet space. That will make it easier for me to store those vinyl records, cassette tapes, and CDs just a little while longer.