Technology is a big part of everyone’s daily life. For example, think of your day in a series of hours, and try to think of a time where ones of those hours didn’t consist of you using a form of technology at least once. If you are like me, it probably doesn’t happen that often. With that being said, I assumed it would be easy to pick a device and think of 8 specific events in its “life”, but that wasn’t the case. Technology has become such an integral part of everyone’s life that thinking of 8 specific life events for any device I owned presented a challenge. I use devices like my cell phone, TV, laptop, and camera on a regular basis. With this regularity I have become oblivious to the events that occur while using these devices and to these devices. When I first started this assignment, I thought I was going to use my old iPhone as my subject to study. But the only life it had was being used by me everyday for random things, getting broken when I dropped it on the concrete, and being easily replaced with a new one that had another new life but met the similar fate of it predecessor. We live in a society where technology is so abundant, that if a device breaks, it’s not hard to find a suitable and easy replacement for it. With that being said, I think we take our technology for granted. In the past, if one of your devices broke, you spent money and time to try to get it fixed rather than just replacing it with a new one. That is why I decided to use my mother’s old Polaroid camera for this project. It was old enough that it had a rich history. It wasn’t just something modern that when it broke it was easily replaced. It had been through its fair share of wear and tear, but that made it a perfect fit for this assignment. Once I decided to use it as my subject of study, it became a lot easier to think of the life events of this device and make a timeline.
Through the hardships of this project, I found it to be one of the most interesting assignments I’ve ever had to do for a class. The start of this assignment was to actually take apart and explore our device. Like I said, technology surrounds our life. The opportunity to take apart and explore the pieces of my device at first seemed challenging to me, but I was shocked to find it easy and even fun. When I think of technology, like a camera or a phone or computer, I think of all the small components that make up the final end product. Since a camera is able to capture and develop an image, I imagined it would be filled with so many small components that were complex, especially considering how old my Polaroid camera was. I was shocked to see how even despite its age, there weren’t that many components to making up this camera. Another interesting part of this assignment was the timeline aspect of it.
It was fun for me to create a timeline for my specific device, but through discovering the life of my device, it made me realize the timeline of cameras in general. Cameras are devices that I think people tend to forget because they have had such a transformation over the years. From the beginnings of Polaroid cameras, cameras evolved into digital cameras. Within these digital cameras, we have the big, bulky ones that many professional photographers use. And we have the smaller more portable ones that most people used in their everyday lives. Overtime, with increasing technology, these cameras got smaller and skinnier, and produced better quality photos that there predecessors. Fast-forward again to the age of cell phones. Many people ditched portable cameras all together to use the cameras on their phones due to the easy accessibility that combining a phone and camera brought. Now we don’t really think of cameras as what picture capturing devices they used to be. They are now just a part of another device that we use everyday in our life.
With the evolution of this technology, our society has evolved as well. We are a marketable society that seeks instant gratification and easy accessibility. I think that is why cameras evolved over time. With increasing technology, cameras got smaller and more easily transportable, the quality of the photos they produced became better, the ability to share the photos became easier to do, and overtime, the Polaroid was lost. But funny enough, in 2017, Polaroid cameras are making a comeback. We are being drawn back to these “ancient” cameras but putting our modern technological twist to them. Polaroid cameras have developed into a luxury and a marketing technique. They are making their comeback as part of the trendy hipster fad. The pictures from Polaroid pictures are popping up all over the web and social media, reaching consumers and becoming so popular that the Polaroid is back on the market by high demand. These modern Polaroid make look the same, but they have many technological differences that reflect the change over time since they were first used. You can now buy Polaroid cameras that print in different color settings, one that prints in wide or narrow dimensions, or one that has built in Instagram filters. You can buy a simple Polaroid camera but upload the pictures to your social media accounts. Or you can ditch the camera completely and just buy a printer that connects with you phone by Bluetooth and prints pictures form your phone of computer that are produced to look like they came out of a Polaroid.
Whether it is the Polaroid camera, or a record player, I think it’s fun and interesting to see old products resurfacing with a modern twist on them and it was an enlightening experience to really view this camera objectively and see not only the history of my own Polaroid, but of cameras in general.