The server brought the food to the adjoining table and no sooner had the plates touched the wood, two of the four family members— both teens — whipped out their smartphones and were taking photos.
I do believe the food at El Jardin — specifically the vegetarian burrito with fajita style vegetables — is good. But I wouldn’t go as far as taking a photo of it and posting it on Facebook.
Obviously I’m not under 30. Perhaps that is why I don’t get why someone would live stream brushing their teeth let alone watch a complete stranger doing it.
There was a time when photos captured special moments, special places, special people, and special celebrations. Now many of us chronicle our lives — including mundane details — as if we are more interested in recording it electronically than we are living it.
Maybe it’s because up until the Enlightened Age started with the sale of the first primitive cell phone that took pictures — Samsung’s SCH-V200 that was capable of taking 20 photos that were 0.35-megapixels in size — was an expensive proposition. Now there are smartphones that can take 20 photos in three seconds with such a fine resolution they can be blown up to billboard size.
Say the word “Instamatic” to a teen today and they’ll look at you as if you’re speaking in an alien tongue.
Kodak Instamatic cameras brought convenient low-cost photography to the masses. Convenient not as in being able to pull out a smartphone and click 3,833 photos in a row with a couple hundred videos tossed in for good measure and still have enough gigabytes to download the electronic version of the Library of Congress. It was convenient in not having to thread a lead on a roll of film as you could simply open the camera, drop in a cassette, shut the cover and click away until you reached 24 shots.
I guarantee that if you were a teen back in 1963 and you pulled out an Instamatic camera and started snapping a photo of your food in a restaurant it would have created a major scene.
Not only was this back in the day when people dressed up to go out to dine but some people actually said grace in public.
You’d either be lectured on how rude you were being taking a photo of your food by your mom or else you’d get a lecture that money doesn’t grow on trees from your dad.
You can buy a Samsung Galaxy J1 smartphone for $78.99 today. Back in 1963 the cheapest Instamatic was $16 or the equivalent of a little over $120 in today’s dollars. Then there was the issue of buying the 24-shot film cassette, flashcubes, and paying to have the film processed and prints made. A picture when all said and done while leaving out the price of the camera was about 40 cents.
It doesn’t sound like a lot until you realize in 2016 dollars that’s $2.80 a photo.
A lot of people back then thought folks with Instamatics were a bit trigger happy with the clicks. If they only knew.
Even though I owned an Instamatic — it was the first thing I bought with the first money I ever earned on my own as a 12-year-old — I have relatively few photos from my pre-adult years.
There are perhaps 50, if that, with most taken at Easter or Christmas. Rest assured none of them are of food that I was about to eat.
I admit in recent years I’ve loosened up a bit.
It started on a trip to Death Valley in November of 2013. Three years prior I had bought a cheap digital camera to take with me after people kept asking about what the places looked like where I bicycled and hiked. In the three prior years I had gone through two inexpensive digital cameras (sand and dirt kept jamming the retractable lens) and only shot 70 photos max. The third camera jammed on me as I was trying to get a photo of a 25-foot dry fall that blocked my progress up Red Canyon.
It is then that I remembered my iPhone5 had a camera that I had never used before. Up until that moment I used smartphones exclusively as a phone. There I was four miles up a deep canyon 35 miles from the nearest outpost of civilization trying to figure out how to use the smartphone as a camera. For whatever reason I thought it would be great to try a couple of “selfies” to give perspective to how high the dry fall obstacle was that stopped my progression. I spent a good part of 45 minutes trying to get the selfies right. It wasn’t until a year and perhaps a couple hundred selfies later that I realized the iPhone had a selfie button that took the guess work out of taking a photo of yourself.
I admit I now have 3,238 photos including 305 selfies and 229 videos. All but a few that are work related are from 80 plus hikes I’ve taken that includes all the selfies plus photos I have of younger relatives that I’ve dragged along from time to time.
And, yes I know. Most people don’t have 3,238 photos and 229 videos stored on their phone as the Verizon rep noted a few months back when I upgraded phones. Then again the only apps on the phone are what were preloaded.
That might seem to be a bit excessive but I can assure you this — there isn’t a photo of food that I was about to eat in the whole bunch although there are a few shots of scorpions I’ve killed.
This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 209.249.3519.