How ironic is this: I’m sitting in a cafe typing out the title of my blog post —poised to tackle the nostalgia-inspired photo trend for smart phones (hello instagram, ShakeItPhoto, & Hipstamatic)— when a friend of mine walks by the window with her 2 year old son.
We’re chatting, then I say “Oh, I almost forgot! I have the cutest photo of Anderson from the other night at Katie’s. I’ve been meaning to email it to you, but here, check it out.” I opened iPhoto and quickly found the photos. She smiled at the sight of her adorable son (who wouldn’t?), then said:
Patrick and I were just saying that we need to take and print more photos. We recently lost a friend to cancer and he put together a photo-look back at his life. It was so amazing. One thing it really made us both think was that we need to print more photos. In fact I went on Craigslist last night to see if I could find a Polaroid but since they aren’t making Polaroids & Polaroid film anymore, it’s all extremely expensive…”
I said, “I hear you. And if you did get to the point of taking & printing the photos, what would you do with them? Put them in an album? Store them in a box or drawer somewhere?”
She said with a smile, “Well, I would make Snap Stories…” which was the perfect tongue-in-cheek response. Yes, that’s exactly the space Snap Stories fills, but the current four Snap Stories titles are not (by any stretch) the answer to the “photo-situation” we face here in Phone Land.
An App For That…
I don’t have a complete answer to the problem. But if I can raise the capital, I’m going to take a bite out of the problem with a simple phone application (aptly called the Snap App). I believe the problem to printing photos —and therefore enjoying them for years to come— starts with editing. Optimized memory space, allow us to snap and store photos till we’re blue in the fingers. So, I have conceived an app to help with the editing part (printing your favorite photos is then just a click away). Who (besides James Bond) would have thought phone=photo? Yet, today it does.
Still, all the apps in the world won’t take us back to the time and place of flipping through albums with printed photos, or walking into a friend’s kitchen and seeing a refrigerator door covered with snapshots, or tucking photos into a thank you card, or opening a novel and seeing a snapshot that was used as a bookmark…
I realize folks aren’t just attracted to the emotions of time-worn photos, they are attracted to the look. I think it was a brilliant juxtaposition to make high resolution, immediate-gratification digital photos look like old, grainy, chemically-developed aged prints! I think we’ve become a little numb to how great photos look, such that the lower quality, “mysterious” images are more interesting. It’s this fascination that my friend John clicked into years ago, and catalogs online at Accidental Mysteries.
Here’s where I shed a tear. Why? Because there is a magic in holding something. In passing it, literally, to someone else and seeing their reaction. That hand-off is a connection, a “touch” between people. There is also a sense of cause and effect in seeing the edges curl over time. In the bigger sense, what I see in the loss of printed photos is the lost of tangible things as they are replaced with digital ones. My husband and I were talking about this the other day. Without missing a beat, he hilariously said something to the effect of soon there will be an app for touching each other.
I’ll end my jaunt down memory lane with a look forward: we don’t know what we’ve got till it’s gone. Please, let’s not let printed photos be a thing of the past…
PS. If you’re interested in being a part of the new Snap App, let me know!