This year my daughter received a bundle of Christmas money from her grandparents and other extended family. Also, she saved her birthday money so that when the lull between Christmas and New Year’s Eve came this year she was ready to make an all-important buying decision. (At least to a middle-school girl.)
She took to the Internet. She researched. She planned. I overheard conversations between she and her mother. My wife, always the empowering spirit, helped my daughter think through her options while not making the decision for her. Days went by, and then my daughter came to me excitedly with her plan.
My daughter explained, with great passion and logic, how she would spend this money to the dime. I was impressed with the precision and drive she displayed in making her decision. She has the type of personality that when she decides, it’s absolute. She doesn’t waffle; no backtracking. She deliberates, considers and then, “Let it be so!”
She decided to buy an instant camera.
You know, a new throwback to the old Kodak cameras that immediately produce a low quality, chemically stinky and “classic” white-bordered print that, depending on the exposure, could be blurry, faded, dark or never develop at all? You know, the ENTIRE reason, one-hour photo processing outlets still exist?
Why did she want this? And she didn’t just buy the camera. She bought a nifty bag, a bunch of film (not cheap, by the way) and wait for it…a “selfie” lens for the camera. I encouraged her, supported her and tried to gain as much insight as I could about her decision. She thinks this camera concept is amazing, me, not so much at first.
Our technologically geared world has moved so far past instant cameras that entire professions centered on photography have died out. Digital images and video are now available in unfathomable bulk of just about anything you can imagine. My wife and I have entire computer hard drives dedicated just to the pictures and videos we have of our kids. Not to mention vacations, holiday gatherings or those times when I thought everyone on Facebook should have a picture of whatever I was eating at some restaurant. (Yes, I’ve done that.)
With a device smaller than the size of a deck of cards, I can take an HD quality picture, edit it, crop it, add text and send it to Sweden in about 60 seconds. That same device can do my taxes, check the weather and access gazillions of other bytes of information at the same time. Why (oh, why?) did my daughter want this camera? Then something about her decision occurred to me.
This camera does only one thing when we are accustomed to our technology doing many things. And the thing it does produces something that, if it’s salvageable, cannot be readily shared in mass for all to see, or ignore. The pictures are exactly one a kind. They are irreplaceable pieces of a moment that can be treasured by a few significant people.
I think my daughter finds it refreshing that she can create and possess something irreplaceable with this camera. I see her treasuring each picture, flawed or not, as she clicks away in producing them. I like this because I think God sees us in this way. We are far more rare and precious than our fast moving world would have us believe. We, like the photos my daughter will create, are moments in time, which God has considered, loved and desired to save.
The camera came in the mail yesterday, no film, no bag, no “selfie” lens, not yet. She was jubilant nonetheless. I made a deal with her that she and I take her first “selfie” together. I want that picture to be stuck on her bedroom mirror with masking tape. I hope she treasures it and I’m glad she bought the camera.