Our Love Affair With Cameras

Cherished moments have been recorded since 1888

By Rich Adams

People have been in love with photography since George Eastman offered the Kodak for sale in 1888. Our relationship with the camera lens has grown to epic levels, boosted enormously by the arrival of the digital camera.

If you grew up in the 1970s or earlier, taking a picture was a timely process. You pointed your Brownie at your subject and clicked off a few shots, advancing the film in the process. You would then (after taking 12 or 14 other shots as to not waste film) take the film to the drug store or photo shop and a few weeks later you would have your prints. Despite the time-consuming process, it is estimated 10 billion photos a year were taken worldwide in 1970, according to BuzzFeed.

The arrival of the Instamatic cameras offered more immediate results. Photographers could have a somewhat blurry and not at all vibrant color photo in their hand within a minute or so. But the quality of the photograph left much to be desired.

The first digital camera was an Eastman Kodak prototype developed in 1975, according to Cnet. It was the size of a toaster, weighed nearly 9 pounds and it took 23 seconds to record a photo that had a .01 megapixels resolution. To put that in perspective, Sony introduced a smartphone camera sensor in 2018 with a resolution of 48 megapixels.

The smartphone and digital SLR camera revolution upped number of photos taken annually. In 2017, Statista reports 1.2 trillion photos were taken.

What happens to those captured moments? According to Techzim, only 7 percent of people regularly print off photos. A hard drive disaster or stolen phone could mean those memories are lost forever, unless you back up your devices to the cloud.

Here are some ways to prevent losing a lifetime of photos:

  • Have a professional photoshoot of your family, keeping the prints in a safe place
  • Print the photos you cherish so you have a physical backup
  • Keep redundant backups – one on your computer, one on the cloud and a physical copy

Make sure you have a document available so someone else in your family knows how to access important photos stored digitally if you are unable to do so.