From loading camera-rolls to uploading pics


While rummaging through my cupboard, I stumbled upon my personal camera that was my prized possession in not so-distant a past, but now has been lying unused for several years. With the coming of smart phones, personal cameras have become redundant. It is not just the cameras but there is a long list of items like the alarm-clock, watch, calendar, torch, transistor and calculator that have been rendered useless.

Smart phones with integrated digital camera that captures image on a sensor and stores in a memory card have changed the dynamics of photography and its storage. Dozens of photographs can be clicked in a moment, virtually at no cost, and the beauty is the images can be viewed instantaneously.

In contrast to the instant gratification in new-age digital photography, the film cameras of yesteryear’s involved  a long- drawn- out process. Photographs could be viewed only after the entire camera roll had been finished which could take days, if not months, and then taken to a photo studio to develop the film. Negatives were carefully viewed to choose the photographs to be developed as every additional photo meant extra cost.

Instant photography has its own thrill but no less exciting was the wait for the black-white photos.  But of course, it had its o flip side. I remember on my phera (first visit home a day after my wedding), my mamaji, who carried the latest camera, clicked a family photograph. The entire family, paternal and maternal – uncles, aunts, and cousins- posed for a group photograph. Alas, my uncle forgot to insert the film-roll in the camera! Another fiasco occurred when my brother went on his scooter to a photo-studio for developing his honey-moon pictures. To his dismay, he found the camera roll missing. Oh no! The reel had slipped out of his pocket on the way to the shop.

Digital camera has revolutionized photography. But can it match the charm of photographs preserved in the photo albums? Photos carefully pasted with corners in albums had romance of their own. Pages of the albums were flipped over to relive old memories with family and close friends. Today, the pictures are not meant to be cherished, but intended for public consumption, uploaded immediately to get ‘likes’.

There was an interesting cartoon: The first graphic depicts a family on vacation posing for a family photograph. The next sketch shows each one of the family father, mother and the two children busy uploading the photo on their social media account. This is the reality! Nowadays everything is instant, you click an image, and next moment it is on virtual public display. The most intriguing are the photos posted as stories on Facebook and Instagram and the status that is uploaded on WhataApp which comes with 24 hours expiry. Another remarkable contribution of the mobile camera is the selfie trend, the craze to take one’s own photo and lose not a minute to post it on social media.

With the new-age mobile camera, my personal camera may have become obsolete but I continue to preserve it as a vintage piece.

( Published in The Tribune as MIDDLE on 1 July 2019 )

20 Replies to “From loading camera-rolls to uploading pics”

  1. Ramadidi you really do come up with original topics for your blog’s which ironically are the ones which are so relatable to most of us, making us wonder ” why didn’t I think of it ?”

    1. And Bhavya , your comments are so witty that I wonder, ” How can u think of such interesting remarks?”

  2. Hello Rama, it was good to read the comparison done with a sense of nostalgia. The conventional camera had its own charm but the digital camera allows instant consumption for all an social media. It allows everyone to be a photographer who has access to many online albums.

    1. True Praveen ,the mobile camera has made every one a photographer.Instead of conventional photo albums we have so many online albums . Thumbs up the mobile camera .

    2. Rama dear it is a fantastic write up Besides the knowledge about the cameras, the article is so interesting that you are totally absorbed , the rich language and the style attracts the fascination . Congratulations

  3. Totally relatable Rama. We still have about 3 cameras stored somewhere. One is the old prized possession ‘the Cannon ‘ . Bharat got it from Japan. But the mobile has taken away everything. The pleasure of going through the old albums is unparalleled.
    But the plus side of instant photography is definitely there. These photo shoots have added so much enthusiasm to our retirees group. Best is the chat afterwards . We extend the meet that way. Enjoy the changing times and savour the old.

    1. Very right Alka, the technological revolution in photography is definitely exciting but we always tend to remember the past with nostalgia. I love your poetic take’enjoy the changing times and savour the old.’

  4. Our dear camera could not get better historical treatment than this. After reading your so well-written article, many of us must have wiped the dust of their most prized possession. You’ve captured the technological advancement and given it an emotional touch as well….kudos

    1. Thank you so much Vidula . I feel humbled complimented by the person who has been my guide and mentor. Thanks for all your guidance and support . Can’t really forget how you edited the pieces that I wrote , taught me the nuances of the language.

  5. Interesting to know the emergence of digital cameras.
    Remember the professional photographers using the tripod to place the camera covered with black cloth and a huge painting of either Taj Mahal or a scenary (landscape )in the background.

    1. The technology does wonders and with nostalgia we tend to remember the past. This is human psychology. The second part that you mentioned of the professional photographers using the black cloth I had almost forgotten.Interesting reviving so many lost memories.

  6. Hello ma’am such a wonderful write up, though during 90’s when I was born had there been digitisation of photography we would relive our childhood ( through video possibly), but yeah down the memory lane , turning the albums has its own charm.

    1. Thanks Madhavi .Wonderful to know your take on the topic. Though mobile camera has revolutionised photography but flipping the pages of albums has charm of its own .

  7. Romancing with the past and nostalgia for all things that enriched our lives then, yet giving modern technology the due it deserves, is your forte Rama. A lovely piece of writing indeed!

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