Digital Camera

I gave my wife a digital camera for her birthday just a few weeks ago and it has disrupted our usually precise routine.

She seems determined to record our every waking moment and so now all of our tasks take twice as long. I am not sure whether this new obsession is an age related thing because, as I feel the need to point out, I am three weeks younger than Mrs M.

It is not just the taking of pictures that has added years to every minute but the additional process now required to make use of the images.

There was a time when a 24 frame film was consumed out of a sense of duty, full in the knowledge of the fact that at least 20 shots would be discarded as virtually useless. Only after the full roll has sat on your shelf for several months will you get around to dropping it in for developing.

Now, with the advancement of digital photography, we are faced with the frightening prospect of every shot being placed on view electronically. Needless to say I am somewhat concerned; I don't have the physiology to allow for too many pictures to be taken with any confidence.

In the days of film there was the natural censorship of the cost of developing at the back of your mind. The picture taker would have had the good grace to at least wait for you to smile and breath-in before pressing the button. Now they just take shot after shot without any care, safe in the knowledge that they can, in theory, erase them later.

Once my bride has filled up a storage disk with pics she is ready to download them onto the computer. I say she is ready when what I actually mean is she is waiting to be shown how to do it for the umpteenth time.

Invariable we cannot remember where we have put the connecting wire even though we have a special drawer for such things. Several minutes and many arguments later we sit down to press all the correct buttons in the right order so that our memories can be stored.

Once this part of the process is complete my wife then wishes to 'Facebook' them (she cares nothing about turning nouns into verbs) and so the logging on to the internet and uploading fun begins.

This is probably the area of digital photography that causes me both the most pleasure and the most pain. There are pictures of me on the world wide web in poses that should not be seen: part way through eating a pie on a day out, half asleep on a deck chair, looking petrified on the Manchester Eye, and spilling decent red wine down my shirt on a night out in Saltaire. Added to these are the numerous shots of me mouthing the words 'Don't take another picture!' I am usually caught mid way through the 'O' of another and looking like a slightly disappointed baboon.

The delight comes in laughing at my many friends who have been caught in similar positions by their partners.

At least my wife can take a decently framed photo. I, on the other hand, produce snaps with the edge of my finger appearing like a shadow in the top left hand corner; I like to make my mark.

So digital photography has removed from our language words and phrases like negative, developing, over exposed, and photograph album. And replaced them with ‘where did you put the wire?’, ‘You should have cleared your old pics off the disc by now’, ‘Could no-one be bothered to charge the battery up’ and ‘why did you put that one on Facebook’.

My wife asked me what I wanted for my birthday when I reach the same age in three weeks time and I am pretty sure that I don’t want a digital camera; one pictorial historian in the family is enough I think.

Mrs M doesn’t seem phased that I have named her such, she just points out that if history is written by the victors then all the power lies with those who own a digital camera.