I saw something online the other day that really got me to thinking about the rapid-pace technological advances that have come about in the last 20 years. It was a photo of a big pile of items: a giant desktop computer, a fax machine, a video camera and accompanying VCR, a wristwatch, a tape recorder, a hand-held camera and actual film, a bound book, etc. In a photo right next to that, on a split-screen, was the image of an iPhone, which has rendered all those other items practically obsolete.
For the most part, the changes are good, though I refuse to give up my beloved books. I love the printed word, the heft of a weighty tome, and the smell of the well-worn pages as I devour stories of other people, places and times. I doubt that I will ever fully embrace e-reader technology.
Technology has also taken away something else that most of us over the age of 30 have grown up cherishing: the photo album. Yes, it’s true that we take many, many more photos today than we have since the invention of the daguerreotype, but it’s unusual to see those pictures of family and friends printed out and framed, lining the walls above staircases, gracing our bedside tables and family rooms, and contained in one neat little book that tells the story of our history with each turn of the page.
Now our whole lives are stored away in electronic devices, and usually shared with the world via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. That’s all okay but I do miss the intimacy of the printed image. Perhaps it’s time to visit my pals at Hampton Photo Arts in Bridgehampton and get to downloading.
Last week, both of those past loves of mine—real books and printed photos—collided when I checked out a novel at the John Jermaine Memorial Library annex on Water Street. Tucked inside the pages, serving as a place marker, was a picture of a brunette woman embracing a blonde boy. His open-mouthed expression seemed to say, “Hey, wait a minute, I didn’t say you could take my picture!”
The date on the front read 12/25/89 and the writing on the back indicated that the woman and boy were Lara Hausler and her son, Daniel, and that the photo was taken in Peshawar, Pakistan. Is someone out there missing this photographic reminder of Christmas Day, two decades in the past? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be glad to return this memory.
Speaking of terrific images, Bryan Downey sent me a great one this past week. I’m happy to report that Jeff Bauman, the Boston Marathon bombing survivor who lost both his legs in the attack, received the guitar that Bryan and 100 or so East End musicians and music lovers sent to him. I’m running the photo on the front page of the Arts section this week. Make sure to check it out and prepare to smile broadly from ear to ear.
And for lasting images of a more painterly kind, stop by Dodds and Eder on Bridge Street this Saturday, May 18, to see Plein Air Peconic’s “At Home in the Natural World” exhibition of landscape paintings. An opening reception will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. that night and a percentage of sales will benefit the Peconic Land Trust.
Participating artists include Casey Chalem Anderson, Susan D’Alessio, Aubrey Grainger, Anita Kusick, Michele Margit, Gordon Matheson, Joanne Rosko, Tom Steele, and Kathryn Szoka. For more information, please visit www.doddsandeder.com, www.pleinairpeconic.com and www.peconiclandtrust.org.
Also on Saturday, May 18, there will be an Opening Day Vine Cutting Ceremony at the Sag Harbor Farmers Market at 9 a.m. The market will operate on Saturdays, through October, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For additional information, visit www.sagharborfarmersmarket.org.
And lastly, don’t forget that the Sag Harbor Fire Department Dive Team will host a spaghetti dinner at the fire department on Saturday, May 18, from 5 to 8 p.m. For details, such as admission costs, please call 725-0252.