Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
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Today, as the holidays wind down, I spent a few hours with my camera at the Toronto Zoo, snapping nearly 1,200 images. The vast majority of these will soon be deleted. But it’s on occasions like these that I recall the bad old days when film came in rolls of 36 exposures and cost a non-trivial amount per roll. Then there were the developing costs, and the bother associated with contact sheets on which tiny versions of every image got printed.
I loved photography long before digital cameras came along. But from an affordability – and environmental – perspective, there’s no comparison. Digital photography rocks. More people are able to take more photos because it no longer costs a small fortune to do so. What used to be an expensive hobby requiring a significant up-front investment in equipment as well as ongoing expenses has now been democratized.
Digital cameras are now so good you can do amazing things with ones costing under $500. Rather than messing around with smelly chemicals in the darkroom, images are processed via software. Most images now remain purely digital. Only select ones are ever printed on photo paper. If a person is concerned about pollutants associated with industrial processes, this is good news. Moral of the story: technological advances often benefit human creativity as well as the environment.
As a photographer I know how unendingly and searingly beautiful nature is. Today I captured some great images of a species of snake. These are glorious creatures. If you catch them from the right angle, they can even look endearing. But this snake is also a predator. It stalks it preys, suffocates it via constriction, and then swallows it whole.
It seems to me the natural world should be respected – rather than
but never romanticized.