Volume 16 • Issue 37 | February 13 - 19, 2004

THE PENNY POST



Digital pics

By Andrei Codrescu

After the initial flash of passion, I gained some control over my urge to photograph everything I see. But after a few weeks of snapping everything that looked good, interesting, or weird, I’ve run out of memory on my computer, and I’m now having to review and identify about six thousand perfect images, and trying to decide which three thousand to trash. I can’t possibly dispense with the fifty brilliantly spontaneous shots at that party I can’t (or won’t) remember, and I couldn’t in good conscience chuck the carefully lit pics of my mother’s living room. Nor can I without qualms shove into oblivion the seventy to eighty people I’ve never seen before, because some of them may be extremely important when my memory comes back.

It wasn’t always this hard. I’ve had other cameras, all of which were blessedly limited by film. Thirty-six pictures seemed like a lot back then. My favorite was an early Polaroid that took forever to develop, and the pictures came out looking like old porn. Now and then I got the idea that I was some kind of artist because everything was out of focus and bizarrely angled. The reason I became such an artist was that I never could see enough with one eye and I was never sure what I was pointing at. I once told the guy at the camera shop where I had my film developed to be very careful in handling my art. A week later when I came to pick up the film, he said, “Doesn’t look like anything came out.” Talk about insensitivity. But there was art in my pictures in those slow days, mainly the art of waiting. Everything took a week, including the shooting of a whole roll, because I was trying to save money.

My digital camera has none of those problems: I view things on the screen with both eyes, and the pictures not only look the way I see them, they look more detailed when I view them on my computer screen, and they are never out of focus. The same little card will keep storing one hundred and sixty pictures every time I empty them onto the hard drive. But like I said, the only trouble is I don’t have time to view and order them. I don’t know which is worse, having time to wait or having no time to see what you’ve been waiting for.

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