Never in my life did I imagine that I would be the photographer for my friends. Yet slowly but surely, my Canon G9x’s flicks surpassed my social life and made it onto far more Instagram feeds than I ever could.
The love story between me and “Dalton’s Digi” (my digital camera) began thanks to past school retreats. Whenever an overnight trip would roll around, students would be separated from their precious phones. However, we were not just removed from technology, but also separated from a chance to document our lives. I knew then that I would be the hero my class deserved and ensure that the memories we were making wouldn’t be totally lost.
On every trip, I would bring a digital camera that I had from my wannabe-vlogger era in 5th grade. I would film videos and take photos, recording the entire experience through my camera’s lens.
It was not until last year that I had the realization that the switch from a phone camera to a digital camera did not have to be confined to a retreat or time away from social media. So, I started bringing the camera everywhere — the last day of sophomore year, semi-formal, my sister’s graduation — essentially any moment that I deemed significant enough to be captured digi-tally. It was fun for me, and the photos always seemed to look better on that small gray camera.
My friends grew to love it too. I remember waking up the morning after Homecoming to 30 texts from different numbers. I thought that there must have been some type of tragedy, but, no, it was just oodles of people asking me to upload the photos from the night prior. As soon as I could send off the photos after an event, they would begin popping up everywhere. I would click on a random Instagram story and see a photo I took with people that I barely even knew. My camera was growing an even larger social circle than I was.
I understand that I’m not alone in the revival of digital cameras. I myself was inspired to utilize my camera by those nostalgic-looking flash photographs all over my explore pages. However, as I began to reflect more upon the digi resurgence, I also questioned the purpose of this movement. I think people attach themselves to digital cameras because they want to seem less obsessed with social media and more “in the moment.” I don’t believe that digital cameras effectively achieve this goal. The first thought that races through people’s minds when they capture a candid is, “How it will pair with MY Instagram feed?”
The one thing I’ve noticed through my camera is that while I do find myself putting my phone down and picking up my camera during special moments, the purpose of the digi is still the same as posting on social media: an attempt to capture and flaunt a memory. So as much as I might wish that digital cameras mean a step away from social media, I think it is more of a step down another path. Whatever the case might be, I know it’s bringing me massive amounts of joy to view my life through my lens. The memory card to my camera is now a true snapshot of my mind, and for now, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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