The Kodak moment

Here I was, just walking by the beach and freezing in the same time.

I have read books about how the easy-to-use Kodak cameras changed the way we do photography, how the presence of cameras changes our behavior, how ritualized it really is to pose for a camera, but the best part was what I called “the search for the Kodak moment” now that we have almost limitless digital space for photos. Out of my lectures I understand that we have a tendency to make Kodak moments or to hunt them at every party, every concert, every outing. Why? Because of the satisfaction we get out of HAVING the Kodak moment in our hand, on our phone, on our computer, the joy of SHOWING it to friends and family, the VALUE of the “pixel-ed souvenir”.

A good looking photo is proof we had a good time in London, Paris… Bamboo :D. Could you go sky diving and not take pictures every time you could? No! You would have at least one shot of yourself jumping or landing or in the special suit or something. And you know what? It’s great. I am not a hypocrite and say that I wouldn’t film the whole thing or take a thousand shots of my parachute. It’s a special moment for me/you and that is the logic which dictates: “It’s WORTH a photograph”.

The problem is the reverse, because browsing through P. Bourdieu you can state that the motive of taking photos should also dictate it’s limits. You don’t photograph what is not worth photographing . Yet we empty our flash batteries and blind innocent passer-bys with shots of shinny lips in dark clubs or bore people with “pretty kitty standing on the couch” shots. I don’t think the “worth” has changed. I think it completely disappeared.We have become industrial size producers of wanna-be Kodak moments in order to keep our social networks, emails and phones full of fresh visual merchandise.

Kodak moments are not hunted, are not made, are not fished out of a trillion digital images you store in your hard drive. Kodak moments happen. You’re walking on the beach. It’s cold, the sea is angry and black, deserving of it’s name. Two black figures start crawling out of the water. A bank of seagulls scout the tips of the waves for fish. They ignore the two surfers coming out of the water. One is slower than the other so the first to reach some land stops and looks back at his friend. The sea tries to claim him back, but all she does is spread a wave full of sand in the air. Click!

This is just a little funny. It was sunny, but windy. The beach was completely empty except for me and Mr. X or so we thought. When we left we saw all these women behind the lifeguard’s house, hiding from the wind but catching a little sun.

For further reading: BOURDIEU, Pierre. Photography: A Middle-Brow Art, BAUDRILLARD, Jean. Societatea de consum, SONTAG, Susan. On Photography, SCHROEDER, Jonathan, Visual Consumption, VAN DIJCK, Jose. Mediated Memories in the Digital Age a si BENJAMIN, Walter, The Archades Project (but it’s a bitch to find, many other guys quote it, better stick to that).

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