One Cell Phone Picture Worth a Thousand Words – A Snapshot of Picture Perfect Technology

Before “blogging” was invented (or given a name, anyway), I would use my own website (Shameless Self Promotion Alert [SSPA]) as a creative outlet – sort of a replacement for the newspaper column I had written for seven years.  In early 2005, I penned a piece questioning the practicality of cell phones with cameras.  At the time, I truly believed it a waste of technology.  I could understand other devices combined with a cell phone, and easily rationalize a cell phone with the following conveniences:  Flashlight, screwdriver (both flat and Phillips head), tire gauge, scissors… I could see it as a sort of cellular Swiss Army knife.  Yet, I could not grasp the thought process behind combining a cell phone with a camera.  We already had cameras!  And who ever picked up their Kodak Instamatic and said, “Gee, I sure would love to make a phone call with this…” 

The piece was either so funny or so ridiculous, that (another SSPA) legendary Dallas-Fort Worth radio personality Ron Chapman, read it (in entirety) on his morning drive show on KLUV 98.7 FM.

Fast forward a couple of years, and I joined the 21st Century (already in progress), and bought my first cell phone with a camera.  I can admit when I’m wrong – on those rare occasions  😉 .  And it truly is a fun convenience.  Where would Facebook, Twitter, and most other social media outlets be without smart phones?  Though I would hope not, the technology may be responsible for layoffs of television news photographers.  It seems the most timely photographs of news events are captured by the camera phones of eye witnesses on the scene before the media even arrived.

What a long, long way we have come with photography.  Back in the day, we would buy the film, take the pictures, take the film to the lab, and wait a couple of weeks for the photographs.  I often wondered whether Snow White was referring to her true love (the prince) – or her photographs, when she sang that song, ‘Someday My Prince (prints?) Will Come.”  My very first job after high school was in a camera shop.  One day a woman came in with a very sad request.  Her daughter had died in a car wreck, and the most recent picture the mother had was on the one on her daughter’s driver’s license.  She wanted to know if we could capture that tiny picture and process it into a portrait.  These days, many people have pictures as recent as mere hours.  Not a day goes by we don’t see this on the news – whether of a crime victim or the actual suspect/perpetrator, a very recent picture is posted on the televised newscast, with the anchor’s preface, “Here is a recent picture from his/her Facebook page…”

But, wait, there’s more.  Just when you thought smart phones had all the necessary apps…  My brother recently had a bad fall, and it was over an hour before he could get inside the house to call for assistance.  Almost without exception, everyone he told of the incident would ask, “Why didn’t you have your cell phone?”  Like his smart-aleck sister (that would be moi), he is typically quick on the rebound, and asked how a cell phone could have prevented the fall.  His smarta** sister, however, would add, “Do cell phones now have air bags?  Is there an app for that?”


Now, for the proverbial “call to action:”
If you liked this piece, please click “Like,” leave a comment, “Follow” my blog, better yet, share the link with friends, family, or colleagues you think would enjoy it. It’s the only way a writer can gather an audience.
Thanks very much!


About nancsue

Writer - Former newspaper columnist - lover of all things nostalgic, collies, music, humor, and ever grateful to those who defend American citizens at home and abroad.
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