The corrections

There is sometimes a sort of inverted cool about using a dead or dying technology. Several of my more artistically inclined friends at university and sixth form college decided that using bakelite typewriters to do assignments and essays was way cooler than using computers. For although the disadvantages outweighed the positives (monumentally so), it seemed to help them. They took their time with assignments. Knowing that a mistyped word was not instantly correctable or that a spilled drink would destroy the whole endeavour created a sense of concern and precision about the task that led them to become exceptional students.

To sound horrifyingly elitist and somewhat bourgeois, I (until recently) used an aging Russian built Zenit-E camera (see because the in built limitation of only 36 exposures made me think about what I would like to record. There was also a sense of excitement about dropping the film off at Boots and waiting a few days not knowing quite what the images would look like.

I think the blessing and the curse of the digital age is that we sometimes get too many chances to get it right. It’s a good thing in the sense that we get to replace mistakes. This appeals to my egalitarian socialist ideals. There’s nothing worse than a photo ruined because someone else walked in front of your camera at the wrong time. It’s reassuring to know that something isn’t lost forever due to careless mistakes. But every now and again I can’t help but think I might be slightly more careless than I used to be…

2 thoughts on “The corrections

  1. Funny, I was thinking something very similar just today – as someone walked in front of an object when I was taking a photo. I’m still mentally stuck in the age of film photography and ground my teeth when they did so – then relaxed again when I remembered that I could take another at no cost. Did the tourist think this too and so was less courteous? I remember people used to all stand back as film photographers lined up their shots – or would duck to make sure they were out of shot.
    Not anymore it would seem!

  2. Fascinating: thank you for sharing. Your friends use of typewriters is wondrous. Far braver than I.

    I only moved to a digital camera 2 years ago — it truly does change how I photograph [not that I am an expert]: I click a lot more knowing I do not have to pay to see them and can delete at will. Interesting what Kerensa says too: I still go, “Oh no!” before realising I can snap again easily.

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