Another Day in the Country

What’s with all this Retro?

© Another Day in the Country

About seven years ago, I got my first digital camera. Tool Time Tim gave it to me for my birthday. I still have that same camera. It has been so much fun to take pictures with this digital camera because of the instant gratification. Immediately, I can see what I just captured on the little screen. I love it!

In the olden days I used up more film capturing life, beauty, sometimes a photographic assignment and always this need of mine to remember just what something looked like.

Being in the country, far from the amenities of a city and without a darkroom of my own, I then had to take the film clear to Salina to be developed. To save an extra trip, I’d always have double prints made so we had photos to give away. We now have boxes of double prints and 4x6 photographs that record life in Ramona, waiting to be thrown away.

And then came digital photography and the miracle of being able to send photographs by email or on your telephone. What a wonderful piece of technology.

So you can imagine my surprise when I discovered that this younger generation was suddenly fascinated by film in cameras.

“Working with film is so exciting,” some young X-generation art student enthused, “because you never know what you’re going to get.”

“What?” I’m talking back to the radio now, “I guess you don’t know that the not-knowing-what-you-are-going-to-get is what made us all love a digital camera? We now knew! Instantly.”

What is this love of Retro?

“Been there, done that,” I say to myself when I see it.

Of course, I used film. Of course, I collected records — still have some; but time (and equipment) moves on. Pretty soon, all that keeping is just useless.

Would you believe, however, that we went to a musical concert the other night and this Blues-singing group had 45s, 78s, and 331/3 records — actual physical discs — available, along with their CDs?

Do people still own record players? We bought our last one at a store that specialized in reproductions, not because we had that many records; we liked the look of it — old fashioned — in the house. (By the way it covered the bases because it had a radio, tape and CD player as well as a turntable. Eventually I threw it out because the CD player stopped working.)

Is it the fate that everything that goes around, comes around? I’ve seen the styles of women’s clothing come around several times. Somehow, it isn’t quite as exciting the second or third time that you see raglan sleeves or platform heels introduced.

My father always disliked antiques, — or anything old, for that matter.

“Give me something new,” he’d say. “Throw out that old junk.”

And yet, we found great joy in rummaging through Aunt Gertie’s garage and haunting antique stores when we came back to Kansas. We filled our house with old castaways and repainted chairs. We’d gone Retro and didn’t even know to name it.

So why should I be surprised when another generation discovers that hands-on thrill of spooling in a roll of film, which needs such discreet handling and careful bathing in mysterious fluids to produce a picture?

When my ears are no longer as keen as they once were, I can smile at the enthusiasm of the young crowd wowed by the sound of a needle on vinyl. Those are miracles that should not be forgotten or taken for granted.

What’s next, I wonder, with the Retro craze? Perhaps it will be spending another day in the country.

 

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