Feeling nostalgic, over what was, being replaced, by modern day technological advances, remembering, the good ol’ days here, translated…
At the gatherings, my friends et up an assortment of collection of photos, often, everybody would use their cell phones, to send and receive the photos, to relive the joys from the moments we’d, gathered together. And, before the cell phones were invented, this was, next to, impossible. And now, not only in the gatherings of friends, cell phone photos, became the omni. Trips, gourmet dining experiences, concerts, exhibitions, information, peeping, car crashes, scenes of accidents, catching someone cheating too………all are, captured by the cell phones. And, the photos don’t take up the storage spaces, it’s, loaded up in the Clouds, stored forever!like this??? Photo from online…
And we can, touch up in the photos of people too, to make the people we photographed looked more radiant, or younger than they, actually were. And now, we can add the camera lenses onto the cell phones, to switch the lens. There’s, the selfie sticks, and, people who know how to use it, are having, a grand time, using it, and those who have no clue of how the selfie rods worked, wouldn’t take a bad picture of themselves either. With a cell in hand, photographing, at any given time of day.
The photo albums had, become extinct, and after a few years from now, it’ll be, antique for sure. But, those with elderly at home, would often have the albums, with the “historic” figures, and pictures of their, younger selves. And, the one flipping through these albums, are nobody, but yourselves.
One day as I’d sorted through the bookshelves, I’d found a box of films between seven, eight albums. Opening it up, an assortment of black-and-white photos, of various sizes, leapt out toward me, and, my dusty memories, became clear. These were, my spending time in a dark room. Yes, I’d once, developed the films, in a dark room.
using something like this, where veverything IS controllled, manually? Photo from online…
Although, the cameras were, familiar, but mostly, the shots I’d taken, were, at random, and I’d only known the basics of techniques, so, I’d rarely succeeded in shooting. About thirty odd years ago, I was friends with the famous photographer, Hsin Wang. I was, attracted to her work, and, asked to take lessons with her, she’d told me, with a serious manner, “If you want to learn this, then, learn the skills well.” “Of course, when classes are in session, you are, the lecturer!”, and, there were, six, seven of us in her class, and we’d all needed, our own cameras, I’d asked my teacher, to go and select a Leica with me. She’d started teaching us about the camera itself, the parts, and what each and every part’s functions were………I’d, focused on what’s told in class. We’d, turned in assignments weekly, the lecturer would point out the good and the bad of the photos we’d, turned in to her. And, she’d taken us, on “field trips” every now and then, the same scenes, her photos were always, way better, than ours, whether it be the lighting, the depth of the scenes, the focus, we’d all paled by comparison to her. And this had, increased our wills to learn even more, and, we’d, made progress, and felt proud of ourselves for our achievements.
Hsin Wang’s techniques of using the darkroom, had gotten to the artistry, she said, that the darkroom itself, was way more interesting than the photography itself, that without taking the lessons in working in the darkrooms, then, our lessons in photography, wouldn’t be, complete! And so, I’d, turned the small room, at the end of the hall upstairs in my home into a small darkroom, and, in the direction of my photography instructor, I’d, bought ALL the equipment for it. From developing the films, to enlarging the images, step, by step, repeatedly. Not only, was this interesting to me, it’s, intriguing. Even as I’d failed, it was, intriguing too, because, I get to, see where I’d, failed, and improve the next time, until, I’d, succeeded. Especially in the developing of the films, in a machine that enlarges the photos, I’d become, a magician, I can select any part of a photo, and, enlarge it however way I’d wanted to, to the depth, or the lightness, everything, I’m, in control of. The images appeared slowly onto the film, and, with a 0.1 second’s difference, a different turn out. On the same film, there’s, the depth of colors. I’d become, attracted to, this uncontrolled, and controlled process, this game that never, turned out, the same. In the small darkroom, after the door was shut, silence, and darkness, all around.
I’d enjoyed this sense of joy alone, the small room became, enormous, free for me, to soar in.
Sometimes, I’d waken up in the middle of the nights, put a coat on, and, found my way into my darkroom, and, I’d, played around with the developments of the films until morn, and still felt, energetic. If there’s a picture I was proud of developing, then, the joys from making it happen last the whole day, I’d personally, experienced, what it felt, to be, taken with something now. That small room carried my spiritual and mental satisfactions, the darkrooms became, the re-creation of photography. Woolf said, “A woman needs her own room”, and this room much produce a “spiritual ration” for us, to be, fulfilled. Although I’d performed averagely in the darkrooms, but, the happiness I got from my own creativity was enormous. But……it seemed, that very shortly thereafter, the technologies, got ahead of me, and, we can shoot photos from the cell phones we used to call people with, only in a few short years, the smartphones came, and, killed off eighty, ninety percent of the traditional cameras. Slowly, the films, vanished, the equipment for the darkrooms, gone. But, at this “end”, there were, the professional photographers who’d not given it up yet, I’d given the equipment in my darkroom to someone younger, and, my darkroom got, turned into, a storage space.
What was lost, wasn’t just, a hobby, was also, that time of solitary and isolation of being all alone inside, with the dimly lit red light, that feeling of magic, of having my body and my heart and mind working together. That was, a different sort of a feeling from reading and writing in lit areas. I’m not going to have this sort of a more-depth kind of hobby anymore! Although, there’s, that joy from working with my hands and minds in my painter’s studio, but, there’s, the irreplaceable atmosphere from the darkened, lightless, darkroom.
And so, this, is how a form of art is lost, replaced by, modern day technology, and this showed how, we’re, allowing the advances in technology, to take over our lives, to make us forget, what it used to be like from before, when we hadn’t, gotten, introduced, to these, modern day technology advances yet.
The Rain, from Here on Out, a Poem