Instead of building me the darkroom I wanted over a decade ago, Jimmy presented me with a new camera, a little point and shoot with the then inferior digital format.
He obviously had no idea a photograph, particularly a black and white image, is a work of art, a subtle play of light that begs expression from the moment of inspiration to the birth of that vision on paper.
My early years as a high school yearbook advisor had included a stint in the darkroom that I was now ready to parlay into something I could call my very own.
Who knew the world of digital technology would feed such a frenzy of addiction, with me leading the pack.
I’d spent the better part of six months talking about enlargers and safelights, chemical baths and photographic papers to drive home my point. I was as subtle as a zebra’s black and white stripes. Alas, holding my new darkroom in the palm of my hands was like discovering there was no film in the camera after shooting an entire roll of what I’d anticipated would be prize-winning images! I wanted to toss the camera across the room!
Jimmy had even gone so far as to purchase a Nikon, relying on clout to help cinch the deal. I was not impressed. Nor was I looking forward to the now necessary steep learning curve required to master this new piece of technology. I was perfectly happy to remain in the twentieth century along with my old-fashioned darkroom and 35 mm camera.
Oh, yea of little faith.
Ten years and a hundred thousand plus digital images later, Jimmy can have the last word, although I dare say it’s buried beneath all those digital dividends.
“That’s enough pictures, Sherry,” Jimmy said after I captured this image and a dozen more of equally mundane moments several months ago while waiting for our plane to take off.
Okay, maybe life still isn’t easy despite all my experience. I’d hope things would change when the kids were grown and Jimmy and I were left to our own devices. That seems to be the problem; our own digital devices. It's less about art, and more about . . . more.
Back in the day, before silver halide crystals on a strip of 35 mm film gave way to today’s pixelated digital decadence, pictures were typically the stuff of special occasions and holidays. They'd yet to become fodder for chronicling every nuance of daily living via social media. Guilty as charged.
“It’s a sunset, Sherry,” Jimmy complained when his patience with my present-but-unaccounted-for companionship infringed on our sharing that sunset together.
Of course, don’t ask me what I’m going to do with all those digital sunsets!
Wait a minute! There’s always this travel blog!
As with any addiction, those afflicted are often the last to recognize the problem, much less take steps to correct the problem. Never mind as human beings we’re wired to hoard, at least according to the famed psychologist, Abraham Maslow.
Maslow determined that once our basic needs (food, clothing, and shelter) have been met, we thrive on social recognition, personal worth and accomplishment; those three needs are critical to our perceptions of happiness. No wonder I can't bring myself to delete my precious memories. The more digital images, the greater my worth! Right?
That explains the 700 million comments and likes per day on the king of social media, Facebook. Apparently I'm not alone in my happiness, or my addiction.
I’m willing to admit, there on the beach, the sun setting, I felt an incredible sense of urgency to capture every precious moment (it was my first time ever in Maui, where life suddenly went from black and white to totally Technicolor; this was not Jimmy’s first taste of paradise) least I miss the colors at their peak of perfection. Who knew when that perfection would occur? I wasn’t willing to take that chance. Perhaps it wouldn’t be a stretch to throw in a bit of perfectionism feeding my digital obsession.
OMG! If the Technicolor moments of my life run dry, will my audience (that would be you!) dry up too?
Whoa! I’m suddenly feeling uncomfortably Kardashian!
Perhaps it’s time for a pregnant pause.
. . . . . ! . . . . ? . . . . . . . . . . . . #@&
And all this time I believed Thoreau; I was quite happy leading my life of quiet desperation! Or
was I? It’s going to be a life of very public desperation if I don’t deliver, again and again and again! Yikes! I’m beginning to feel a lot of pressure. My breathing is becoming labored. Where’s my focal point?! Where’s Jimmy?
Wait! Jimmy is the reason I’m in this digital mess! Why is it he gets off with a lighter sentence while I’m left holding the camera and two terabytes of digital files?
Of course, I am the one chasing the truth; the one who sees magic and mystery where Jimmy sees mostly form and function.
The artist begs expression; the wife, mom, sister, friend & blogger - they all beg forgiveness in the eternal quest to balance the gift of each new day with the blessing/curse of all those digital memories.