A Journey from Roll to Digital – Transforming Dreams

It was mid 1990s…On one early winter evening I was sitting and chatting with a few friends on a bench made of concrete in the midst of sprawling Deccan College campus, Pune. Suddenly a cloud of birds appeared flying above us. Some of us looked up and found a reason to cheer but to the rest, it did not matter and there was no expression of joy. When I revealed my wish of capturing the moment by clicking a photograph, many of my friends laughed at me. Someone said it would be wastage of a snap. Yes, it was true as the digital photography technology was yet to be invented. We were using roll films, which had the maximum capacity of 36 frames that could be captured at one go. With no possibility of previewing them, before developing the roll in a studio, each frame was precious and had to be handled delicately.

The roll photography had been quite backward when compared to today’s digital technology. But it was still ahead of time if one compares it with its predeceasing technology. But as I have not experienced in my life the early forms of photography, I find it not fair to compare with today’s technology. In the 90s I did my entire PhD using roll photography. As my topic was based on fieldwork in remote scenic villages, I seldom felt like capturing vibrant moments that gave me inner joy but the lack of resources and technology always prevented. One more incident I remember while writing this. In my late teen once I had been out of home for a month. When I returned back I saw our house garden was blooming with flowers of all hues and textures. I was overjoyed and emptied a roll capturing one after another images of the flowers. Alas, when I went to wash the role, none of the frames had captured my wish. It was very disappointing.

With the invention of digital technology, the wishes were full-filled, as now I was able to capture as many pictures I wanted and delete those I did not need. This is true with billions of people world over, who have been on earth and witnessed both the technology and have gone through similar experiences.

At last I pay my tribute to all those invisible humans who have been contributing silently in our lives by upgrading technology from time to time. I also assume of the invention of a more dynamic nature that may dominate the world of photography in another 20 years, perhaps bringing more options to transform human dreams and wishes into realities.

This is indeed a lesson for each of us to appreciate human history from a change perspective. Human history has always been dynamic and ever-changing, and the present is not an exception. We have to just flow with it.


3 thoughts on “A Journey from Roll to Digital – Transforming Dreams

  1. nicely written Jitu. The only disadvantage of digital photography is that it never gets printed, always remaining in camera or computer. I miss the curling up in a sofa and viewing albums from the past.

  2. Thanks Priti for reading this and commenting. Yes, I too agree the inner joy while flipping through photo albums that has almost gone from our daily life. But we can always print if we find them valuable.

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