Thursday, January 29, 2009

Day 490 - Too Many Pictures -- Even For A Japanese

I remember when film cameras were your only option to take pictures. You only had 24 or 36 opportunities to take that perfect shot. Looking back at many of my old photos I had very few perfect shots and many crappy shots. But in this age of digital photography there are only three things that prevent you from taking limitless pictures: your memory card, your camera battery, and an annoyed wife asking you to put the damn camera down.

All of my photos of Emma and Andrew are saved on my computer. It is organized by year, month, and week or event. For instance, if I wanted to find a photo of Lisa covered with baby poop, I would go to '2008', the month of 'October', and the event 'Lisa Covered in Poop'. This is not to be mistaken with the time we went camping and Lisa fell into an outhouse; that one is in the folder '2005'.

I was backing up all of my 2008 photos onto my external hard drive and I noticed it was going to take a long time to copy everything. So I wondered how many photos I have of the kids from last year. Since Picasa notes how many photos are in each folder, I did a quick count of every photo we have of the kids. From September 21st, 2007 to January 27th 2009, I have over 6,200 photos of Emma and Andrew. That's barely more than all of the downloaded photos I have of Megan Fox, Marisa Miller, and Cloris Leachman (Did you see her on Dancing With the Stars? H-O-T M-A-M-A!!!).

I don't know whether or not to praise or curse the advent of digital photography. On one hand, digital photography allows us to try and capture that perfect photo. It doesn't matter how many pictures you take because the only cost you have is the memory card and the photo development. If I bought enough film to take 6,200 pictures, I would be spending several thousands of dollars in film and development. I love the kids, but one crappy shopping mall photo with Santa each year would be enough for me.

On the other hand, there was a certain amount of anxiousness and surprise when you picked up your film pictures at the photo counter. As a kid, I remember going with my parents to the store to pick up our vacation pictures. It was always exciting to see what pictures came out great and which ones were disappointments. Just looking back at our older photo albums, there's a charm about the naturalness and messiness of the pictures.

So I guess I'm not against the digital photography era. I'm just against the ability to edit our memories into these perfect representations of the past. And maybe that's why I have so many photos of the kids. I don't delete the photos that show how crappy it can be to be a baby. I have photos of the kids throwing tantrums, getting hurt, running into walls, and driving heavy machinery. When I look back at our digital photo albums, I don't want to have this idealized, perfect representation of raising kids. I want to remember the whole thing. I want to remember when Andrew pooped on Lisa; I want to remember when Emma pooped on Lisa; I want to remember when Crazy Grandma Ichikawa pooped on Lisa.

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