Technology Through the Generations OR What Do You Mean by “Film?”

Alan Kay said, “Technology is anything invented after you were born.” While that makes sense intuitively, it’s hard to see in real life. To make this more tangible let me take you back 8 years.

It was early 2010 and we were in Key West for Jeff and Debbie Katersky‘s wedding. Debbie’s niece Carly was about 8 at the time and was given a single use film camera to take pictures at the wedding. This was her first experience with a film camera.

“How do I know what I’m taking a picture of?” Carly asked, pointing to the back of the screen.

“You look through this viewfinder right here,” I said.

“OK…” said Carly, squinting to look through the viewfinder. “But how do I see the pictures once I’ve taken them?”

“You won’t be able to see the pictures. They’re stored inside the camera,” I said.

“Oh, so they get emailed automatically?” she says, excited that she’s starting to understand things.

“No. They don’t get emailed. They stay on the film in the camera. Then between each picture, you have to turn the knob at the top to wind the film.”

“Why do you have to do that?” she asked, thoroughly puzzled.

“Because all the pictures are stored on film, which then needs to be developed. Because of the film you need to be very careful not to open up the back or all the pictures will be destroyed,” I said.

“So that means they get deleted?” she says as she starts opening the camera.

“No! Don’t do that!” I yelled, running to stop her. “They won’t get deleted. If you open up the back all the pictures will be ruined!”

Carly made it through the wedding taking her pictures. And like all photographers with film cameras, she got 1 or 2 good shots on her roll of 24.