No Cameras, the handwritten note that lined the door handle said, scribbled in the ink of a black felt marker. The piece of paper looked ancient - the ones that brown at the edges worn down by years and nothing else. As a photojournalist, I felt weary; as a human, I felt I had unearthed something great. Behind the wooden frame was a treasure collection of poetry, Shakespeare, newspaper clippings, travel literature, quaint chairs, and a white-haired man sitting alone behind the desk. He was older, but not old. If I remember correctly his name was John. Stacks of individual pieces of paper sat unorderly behind John, who smiled at me as I entered into his shop. Grazing about I touched each book carefully, afraid any bit of strength might destroy its fragility. Pause and savor, I thought. The shop felt wholesome - no pollution from the outdoors could infect its charm. No cameras as a shield of security from modernism.
In the real world, outside of John’s shop, a click leaves the subject ingrained in our memories forever. An accentuated photo with two filters and then two more, and then our once organic snapshot resembles some foreign, exotic dream. The memory becomes falsified - an exaggeration - but an even more beautiful portrayal of our already beautiful world. In the real world, we search for confirmation that our lives are extravagent, exciting, worthwhile. We want reminders that we are doing something right. We are products of our generation, bred and consumed by this visual technology. We are more creative from it - but are we better, more well-rounded souls? Does it make us forget our roots: the life skills, the importance of face-to-face, of a pen pal, of leisure and pleasure and simple gratification? Why can we not remain infatuated with our own two eyes to bare witness to the magnificent sights before us: of the golden, empty sand, the long stretch of Australian beach, the turquoise of the ocean, the surfing friends of the ocean. Yet now I take my camera to capture, in essence, my perfect memory.
How many people will like it?