Have you ever stopped to think as you take an image and do something like ‘Instagram’ it, that it’s ironic in this digital age, one of the most popular things to do with photographs to enhance their appeal and make them look better is to make them look retro and old.

I guess people are nostalgic, and now can have in digital form both an original, unfiltered image and an image how it might have looked if take on any number of old film cameras, or with filters applied. Perhaps it is that people feel ‘comforted’ by adding an effect that enhances the nostalgic element, perhaps in this generation, at least, because when they were young that is how they remember looking fondly at happy holiday and family snaps, which faded over time, or were taken with a camera and accidentally exposed half the film, or were altered by the physical process and chemicals used in the processing of the 35mm film, or simply taken such a long time ago that photography was only just developing (pun intended!) as a new form of recording memories. Here are some post-processed images I took the other day which now look retro with filters applied:

 

Chain2 

wheelbarrow

 

Wire

 

tyre

 

time

 

stones

 

sign1

 

plughole

 

lock

 

gutter

 

grass

 

Fence

 

The same is true for black-and-white images as colour. Black and white images can work just as well today for an image, even though it can be in colour, an image may lend itself to the ‘mood’ and style etc that a black and white photo brings.

There’s perhaps something special about discovering an old faded image fallen down the back of a wardrobe, or lost in a box in the garage for years, and experiencing the emotions or events again upon seeing the image afresh – and somehow the fact that it aged in between makes it an even more emotional connection with the passing of time. Today, with digital, an image won’t physically age in the same way, unless it’s manipulated to look like it – and then its an instant thing. The question is, might this alter how we ‘connect’ with photographs over time? Just a few generations have had the privilege of being part of the photographic journey thus far enjoying the transition from the first photographic images being taken through the instant Poloroids, 35mm film and so on (which some photographer will always prefer regardless of digital – like records vs DVD). Digital photography and cameras permit anyone to be able to take half-decent images and process them without being a scientist, and that’s a good thing. I imagine there are more memories and moments in time being recorded now than at any other time in history. Wonder what will be the next innovation?