The past decade — my first date with my wife to our marriage, the Kansas City Royals’ worst seasons to their World Series run, college, jobs, and everything in between — has been captured on my cellphone camera. Like beer and pop music, it was easy to make do with what’s cheap and available, only to look back on a life of Dave Matthews and Bud Light and wonder why I’d gotten by on “good enough.” I regret that.
A SHOEBOX FULL OF CHILDHOOD MEMORIES
Picking through the photos spread across the floor, I had an unexpected epiphany: maybe all late 20-somethings, finally aware that they will actually die one day, become uncontrollably sappy — but I now appreciate the hundreds of photos of my friends more than the countless close-ups of chainlink fences at the golden hour. Because I am aging, and because I have the memory of the original Tamagotchi, I am profoundly grateful to have these clear, high-resolution photos of the people I loved and love.
I WAS RAISED IN THE DISPOSABLE CAMERA GENERATION
The 35mm Minolta captured everything I cared about in pristine color and resolution, but perhaps more importantly it inspired me — or really, gave me an excuse — to take photos of what at the time seemed trivial. Because when you’re an amateur photographer, everything, from soda spilled on a Oldsmobile’s dashboard to a stack of Vagrant Records CDs, becomes a font of inspiration. When I fanned the photos, I noticed a dozen carefully composed shots of a friend dozing through history class and nearly a hundred featuring the same iced coffee at the same junky downtown coffee shop. It’s plenty obvious who and what teenage me really fretted about — even if at the time I didn’t know it.
CAMERA PHOTOS LOOKED GOOD ENOUGH
I spoke with my wife about how I feared that if we stuck with iPhones for casual photography, then the best moments of the rest of our life would look like fuzzy adver-porn shot by Terry Richardson. I told her I wanted to spend a lot of money on a nice camera, and she respectfully asked me why I always compare everything I hate to Terry Richardson photos.
THE X100T IS ARGUABLY THE BEST COMPACT CAMERA OF LAST YEAR
Is this worth the money? For me, yes. Absolutely. God, I can’t tell you how happy it makes me having these photos of the people and places I love. To have photos of my wife visiting Rockefeller Center during Christmas; of my friends on a polar bear swim; and of my parents just being my parents, because I’m so fortunate to have them and to have photos of them in good health. I am acutely aware that time moves onwards with an unfeeling consistent pace, and sooner than I’d like to process, I will want to look back, not to live in the past, but to appreciate it. When I look back, I want to see every dimple and every crinkle and every detail.
IS THIS WORTH THE MONEY?
Of course, that’s the other benefit of a nice camera. It doesn’t have to serve as some pseudo-depressive tool for preserving the present. My X100T has its own Wi-Fi network, accessible through a smart phone. With it, I have stepped up my game on Instagram, an app that, better than any other, reminds you: "There's no better time than now."