My wife's sold on digital cameras - but then she's always been an enthusiastic early adopter. I have Reservations. The technology is amazing and comes with a particular appeal for perfectionists. You can end up with error-free photography which means everybody looks good - in every frame.
Only it isn't a frame as we know it Jim, it's a thingie you look at on the back of the camera. These cameras are incredibly efficient - they do for photography what the iPod has for music and the results are instant and impressive. No need to worry about depth of field; no cause to be weighed down by their once trendy 35mm predecessors - they can be shelved along with Box Brownies.
No, my reservation is about the way technology has transformed photography. The first inkling of all this came a generation ago with the introduction of slides. Oh how we fell for slides! And later how we groaned at the prospect of yet another living room slide show from friends fresh from their travels. Now we too, have boxes of slides covering everything from weddings to overseas trips. Trouble is we no longer have a slide projector - and getting them printed is way too expensive. So memories slide out of view.
That's at the heart of my reservations about digital cameras. By themselves they're not a worry. Human nature is. Human nature says we will get them copied. Human nature promptly forgets. Years go by, children grow up, older relatives and friends die.
Unless the new breed of photographers is incredibly conscientious when it comes to copying, all those perfect images will end up on disks or the hard drives of computers. Nothing wrong with that! you might say, but consider this: once, when a family gathered, bringing out the family albums was a bonding ritual. Every photo told its own story and there were also back stories - what happened that day or just before the shutter snapped. Even though we weeded out the worst of our pics before placing them in albums, they were hardly perfect. Some were comic, others plain embarrassing and some revealing.
There's something about the touch and feel of old photograph albums that this technology can't begin to replace. Albums, like this story, are about memories revealed once more from beneath a flimsy paper veil. We can linger over them as we would over a book. But as a family we got out of the habit of copying prints and for the last few years all our photos have been stored on disk. There are now gaps in albums just as there are in memory itself. Years of photos are now stacked away in slides or on disks. It's time to put them where they belong.
But 'Hang on' she says - 'haven't you heard of digital albums…?'