I’ve had my small point-and-shoot Canon for several years. We've been through a lot together.
I’m actually more than a little surprised that it still works, and works so well. The camera was close to going belly up half a dozen years ago, and was saved by our newspaper’s then chief photographer, Max Gersh.
Along with being an extraordinary photographer and super nice coworker to boot, Max was an all-around good guy. He had a previous stint working in a camera shop and he knew things.
Picture this. One day I dropped my little camera on a cement garage floor and the lens remained stuck in an extended position. I couldn’t use it like that.
Max had some good news and some bad news. The good news was that he knew what might fix the problem. The bad news was that the fix might ruin the camera permanently.
“It’s no good as it is,” I told him. “Go for it.” We held our collective breath.
He took the camera, placed it lens side down, and SLAMMED it down on the desk. The impact freed the lens and the camera has worked perfectly ever since.
For six years now, I’ve figured that any day now, the camera won’t work – either from the drop or the fix, or from sheer age, and extended use. But so far, it keeps on shooting and my photos look as good as many people’s do with cameras that cost multiple times what mine did.
A few weeks ago I was sent to photograph a visiting big-shot politician in from out of state campaigning for a guy running for Congress. The editor wanted a quick pic of the two pols together in a coffee shop. I wasn’t to stay for the meeting they had with locals in their party.
The out-of-state big shot took one look at my little camera and said, “Is that from the Smithsonian?”
The photo turned out great, by the way. I’d stack it against any camera Sen. Hot Shot could come up with.
This trusty purse-sized machine has survived thousands of feature assignments, a day in the press pen photographing Donald Trump, and a trip of a lifetime photographing sights and scenes in Israel. It has captured Christmases at home, cute kids for page-one stand-alones and award-winning lifestyle pages.
You could say I’ve gotten my money’s worth. Size doesn't matter.
Thank you Max Gersh! This post is for you.
Last week I stumbled upon this image, which incredible as it is to realize, is approaching 75 years old. The man, who looks almost exactly like my dad, is actually my grandfather, Roscoe Jobe. The little boy is my late brother, David. The setting is the same pasture where my pony grazed in the late 1960s, early 1970s. The building is the summer kitchen and the house where I grew up is on the other side of it.
I love this old photo for many reasons. For one thing, in decades past, people didn’t take bunches of pictures as they do now, so you’ve got to figure the photos that were taken and survive today represent special occasions or milestones of one kind or another. This picture is between 70-75 years old. I’m guessing that its significance is that my grandfather, Roscoe Jobe, had just bought this pony for my brother, the late David Jobe.
I also love it because this picture was taken in what I knew as “the pony lot,” or, referring to another era of the same location, “the chicken yard” (due to chickens residing there before I came along). My pony, Ginger, and later my horse, Buck, grazed and were saddled up in that same space 25 years after this photo was taken. By then, my grandfather had passed on and my brothers were grown. (Remember, I came along late in my parents' reproductive years.)
I love the continuity that this old farm photo represents, but there is more.
After my dad died, my brother David and his wife Janet built a home steps away from where this photo was taken. They are both gone now but their granddaughter lives in the home they built, and that granddaughter’s sister lives in the house where my grandparents, then my parents lived, and where I grew up (on the other side of that summer kitchen in the photo. It still stands as well).
One of my future projects concerns creating some kind of order for these old photos. And wouldn’t the best of them make great gifts, enlarged and framed, for particular loved ones?
I have century-old and older photos that are in perfect condition, clear, sharp and although they have not been cared for especially well through the decades, heaped into boxes and shelved, and who knows what else before that, they have come down through the generations intact and beautiful.
I have to wonder what photos (the current term has evolved to “images”) will survive from the digital age. I am as guilty as the next person of taking family pictures, posting the best of the lot on Facebook – and forgetting them.
Up until a couple years ago, I was good about making copies, at least. Before that, until about five years ago, I was good about not only copying them, but filing them in order in albums. I’m not so good at either now.
We see how technology changes rapidly, and we change right along with it more gradually, but change we do. So the camera cards and smart phones of today that produce beautiful images will become obsolete and if the photos aren’t printed, ones depicting entire childhoods, vacations and special events, may be lost forever.
It’s something to think about. Will my kids and grandkids, let alone great-grandkids, give a hoot about old photos? Will there even be remaining images of their ancestors or will today’s selfies be tomorrow’s long-lost fad?
I’m curious about how others manage their vintage, as well as more current photos. How do you store them? Do you still print and fill family albums? Do you ever print photos anymore? Do you trust the “cloud” to house your content on into the future or will it be lost when the “next big thing” comes along?
And even if you trust the "cloud," will your descendants be able to access those images?