Column: Photography helps junior view world through rose-colored glasses


Kalyani Rao

A FujiFilm FinePix digital camera image blends into a photo of the sunset, taken by Kalyani Rao. The camera screen holds a photo taken earlier of stuffed animals and a plant in a vase. “I love taking photos of small things,” junior Kalyani Rao said. “It just makes me happy to capture moments in time.”

One of the last things I grab before I leave the house is my purse. My wallet, lipgloss and headphones are the most important things that I need to carry with me, but lately, I’ve been making sure that there’s one extra item that I slip into my bag – my tiny digital camera, a silver FujiFilm FinePix, first released in 2008.

My love for this camera was jump-started earlier this year when one of my long-distance friends from Australia posted photos taken on a digital camera to Twitter. I found myself curious, asking questions about how they took the photos and where they even found the camera – I found myself delving into the phenomenon of the digicams from the early 2000s.

Digicams, otherwise known as digital cameras, have grown in popularity on the internet among teens and young adults. The desire to capture your surroundings on a camera that reminds one of their childhood is shared by many people.

On social media apps, mainly Twitter and Tumblr, users share artistic or nostalgic photos they take on digicams. The blurry and almost dream-like qualities of photos taken on digital cameras are a part of the charm that comes with using a point-and-shoot camera.

That digital camera was the gateway into photography for me. Only needing to focus and press the button to take a photo, as well as being light and portable, the FujiFilm camera that I now owned was convenient to take with me wherever I went, except for the airport, since the batteries would need to come out.

Knowing that I would like the photos no matter how high quality they were spurred me to start photographing moments of my daily life. Bringing the camera to the grocery store, taking photos of my mom, my dog, my plants and my writing slowly started to become an everyday habit.

I still haven’t tried to pull off the photos from the camera to my computer. It almost feels like a time capsule, a fragile collection of elusive moments from my everyday life, hard to convert into the photo files we’re used to uploading every day.

A preference for old technology has been something I’ve had for many years. I used to have a Samsung Galaxy Prime phone, and I loved it – until I forgot my password and got locked out forever – still a tragic memory.

When I visited my grandparents as a kid, I watched movies on this really old TV, probably from the mid-90s, and sitting on the floor in the corner of the downstairs living room, tucked away from the rest of the house. You could only put DVDs into the slot at the bottom and hope that they started playing. I’d sit on the floor, and watch the two or three movies that we had, and, honestly, I miss when that was the height of technology.

Going antiquing is one of the easiest ways to pick up older devices for cheap. Antique shops all carry different things – I go antiquing with my mom sometimes, and that’s actually where I started seeing gorgeous vintage cameras. It’s a bit harder to find digicams, as they’re in the middle of being vintage and relevant – items from the early 2000s are just now starting to come back into the mainstream trend cycle.

I recommend grabbing a point-and-shoot camera if you ever find one. Bring it with you wherever you go – you may end up making memories to cherish forever.