Home Feature SHUTTERBUG OR PHOTOHOLIC ?

SHUTTERBUG OR PHOTOHOLIC ?

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By RATNA MANUCHA 
 
Are they different? I thought they were the same, but apparently, I was wrong.
shutterbug is a person who enjoys taking pictures and takes a lot of them but is not a professional photographer. A photoholic is a person who has a constant need to stop and take pictures every few minutes.
Now, that is all very well. The problem arises when these shutterbugs and photoholics descend upon us and thrust photographs of their family members or their holiday destinations under our unsuspecting noses without so much as a “by your leave.”
But I’m rushing ahead. Let’s start at the beginning.
Those good old days of cameras with heavy leather straps slung across one’s shoulders are passé. Of course, I’m not talking about professional photographers here, just the shutterbug-happy man, woman, or child.
Remember when we went on holiday armed with a heavy camera with a zoom lens and had to carry extra rolls of film, which were pretty expensive, at least in those days, just in case we ran out of film and were unable to capture all those beautiful moments? We would decide which photos were worth capturing on film and which ones we could just make do by capturing in our mind’s eye. Once the film was over, we would cart the precious rolls of film back to our neighborhood photo studio and wait with bated breath for the next two days until those teeny-tiny black and white negatives, along with the tinier rectangular proofs, were ready. Such excitement! The hours spent poring over the proofs, deciding which photographs to develop and into what size! And then proudly fixing them into the pages of one’s album… it was a complete ritual.
And who can forget those photo corners? They actually worked quite well, and the photos remained in good condition until the emergence of albums with plastic sleeves, which caused ruined photos in no time due to their ability to retain moisture.
And then came the advent of Android phones. Among all the benefits they offered, the one that became the most popular by leaps and bounds was the camera. We were now speaking a different language altogether. This new language included words like megapixels, optical image stabilization, HDR, ISO control, RAW, high-speed and slow-motion videos, ad infinitum.
So no more scrimping and saving on rolls of film, or deciding which person, place, animal, thing, or moment is photograph-worthy or which can be given a miss. Now one could take pictures with just one click and delete them immediately if they did not live up to one’s expectations or send them off to one’s contacts instantly after adding the required filters. (Let the receivers die of jealousy… wondering how X’s complexion had cleared up and how she was suddenly looking so young!) No more carrying bulky albums around. Now the little contraption in your bag, pocket, or handbag—the one that is called an Android cellphone—does the work of an album admirably. So woe betide if one comes across an old acquaintance whom one hasn’t seen for years and one makes the mistake of asking her how her children and grandchildren are; out comes the phone, and before one can say ‘Jack Robinson,’ you are pulled to a corner of the bustling road and made to go through endless photos.
“When was it that you last saw them? Oh, six years ago? Then I will have to go to Google Cloud; my gallery can’t store so many pictures.”
So you wait another excruciating fifteen minutes while she goes swipe, swipe, swipe.
Swipe left, swipe right, and swipe again until you get it right!
That reminds me of a friend who is an intrepid photographer. She photographs each drink and each plate of food on the table if she happens to visit a restaurant, and then with a press of the button on her phone, they come to us, her contacts, in droves. Now, what makes you think we would be interested in which restaurant you have visited and what you had to eat or drink?
Then there is the neighbor who comes over to show me the latest pictures of her children and grandchildren and where they went on holiday! Seriously?! But what took the cake and the entire bakery was when she began showing me pictures of her daughter’s in-laws! Before I began tearing out my hair in utter despair, I decided to make a quick exit by saying I had a dental appointment! Talk about originality in excuses!
So all you photoholics, before you begin to bombard unsuspecting people with your cache of photos, stop for a moment and count to ten. Maybe, just maybe, it’ll help you to rethink!
So, for starters, here’s my pledge for the New Year – no matter if the baby rolls over, coos, gurgles, kicks, slurps, or dribbles, I absolutely will not whip out my phone so you can pore over the photos while giving out ingratiating smiles… unless I am specifically asked, and even then,I apologize for the abrupt cut-off in the last sentence. Here’s the complete revised version:
So, for starters, here’s my pledge for the New Year – no matter if the baby rolls over, coos, gurgles, kicks, slurps, or dribbles, I absolutely will not whip out my phone so you can pore over the photos while giving out ingratiating smiles… unless I am specifically asked, and even then, I promise it’ll be one photo… alright, maybe two, and no videos! Enough already!
(Ratna Manucha is an award-winning author of fact, fiction, and textbooks for children and young adults).