The Wingspan

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The Wingspan

The Wingspan

The digital camera: A new desire for something old

It seems that out of nowhere, small digital cameras have become relevant once again in my life for the first time since I was ten. When I leave the house for a night out, my friends and I have deemed it a necessity to bring my old Nikon Coolpix from 2012 to take the most in-style photos. I have had this camera for almost a decade, and now it has made its appearance again, very similar to the resurfacing of older clothing trends from the 2000s. The topic of recycled fashion trends from the 90s and 2000s has been thought over since its relevance, but I couldn’t help but wonder, has our society’s technology done the same? Could the obsession with traveling back in time go further than the occasional low-rise jeans and tracksuit, and why do the ever-changing style trends have such a powerful chokehold on today’s society?

When debating this question, I consulted with the most qualified source for this topic; my female peers. We discussed the purpose of splurging on $200 cameras for our photos when we had perfectly good iPhone cameras. For starters, I discovered the digital camera is just more visually appealing. Something about the blinding flash and toned-down quality had a flare that began to override the desire for high-quality photos of cell phones. Second, it is different; between the evolution of high-quality iPhone cameras and the creation of the portrait mode, the pristine look feels overused and the digital camera brought something new to the table. I realized that the driving force of the never-ending cycle of new trends and fashion is the desire to create or wear something that has never been seen before.  I mean, how could we have gone from the ultra high-waisted Zara jeans to the 2000s dangerously low-rise flares and now, to the digital camera? 

It seems to me that the faster people were looking for abstraction and creativity, the faster trends would disappear and new ones would take their place. People and social media seem to have gotten through all the clothes-related trends and are now progressing to technology. For example, the return of record players. According to BBS News, vinyl records have outsold CDs for the first time since 1987. Popular artists like Taylor Swift, Conan Gray, Laufey and Bad Bunny have all created vinyl records for their albums. These retro styles were replaced with more advanced technology like CDs and online streaming platforms, but recently have returned to the spotlight with even older devices like cassette players. Artists Dua Lipa and Lady Gaga have released cassette tapes, and fans didn’t seem to think twice before buying one for themselves. These old styles require old machines to use them with, which makes me think that people are either buying them for the aesthetic appeal or even more interestingly, buying a decade-old Walkman or record player to put the tapes to use. 

This had me thinking about how powerful the drive for innovation and novelty is. For decades, our society has been pushing for more advanced technology to make daily life easier. Faster iPhones, advanced headsets and even smart appliances like ovens and refrigerators. Our technology has advanced past the age where a small digital camera is needed for photos, and yet, decades later, having one has become the ideal. Not only have our clothes entered the time machine but our technology too.


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