RICHARD ORD: The digital age filled with selfie-loathing

A box brownie
A box brownie

There was a story in the paper this week revealing that someone had broken into a car and stolen a digital camera and a mandolin.

It’s perhaps a sign of the times that my first thought was: “Jeez, who owns a digital camera these days?”

I posted the mandolin theft on Twitter. The best response came from @MCZoso4 who replied: “Luters, probably.” (Looters, geddit?).

But who wants a digital camera? All photos these days are taken on mobile phones.

I’m not sure if this is an advancement. There are advantages, however.

As everyone in the family now has a mobile phone, I am no longer the official Ord family photographer, particularly as I have the least expensive and lowest tech phone of the lot of them.

We have an old family album of photographs stored under our bed in which I rarely make and appearance. Just occasionally, my thumb is visible in the top left hand corner of a photograph.

When I do appear, I always look red-faced, uncomfortable and slightly stressed.

That’s because I only appear in the photograph because I used the timer button on our old digi camera. And we all know what fun that is.

Setting up the camera on a wall before racing back to the group and muscling your way into the shot before the 20 seconds is up and the picture is taken.

It usually took about six takes. In five of the timer shots I would either be pictured heading into the picture, out of the picture or mouthing an obscenity.

By the time a decent picture was taken, I’d be fuming.

Forget the red-eye removal editing tool. I need red face removal.

One development of the mobile phone picture taking age, is the distinct lack of development. As in photographic development.

All the photos taken of big family occasions are either stuck in a computer hard-drive or floating around on the internet.

I can’t remember the last time I went to have a set of photographs developed. And that is one of the advantages.

I am frozen in time. The only pictures of me our house show a youthful young dad at boisterous play with his children. Everywhere I go around our house, I’m followed by this bright-eyed foppish caricature of myself.

Rather like the photo you see at the top of this page (that’s me 10 years ago). My real self, the ageing bearded goon with a bad back and the 1,000 yard stare, is only visible in the darkest recesses of my mobile phone, a Facebook page, or a memory stick buried deep in drawer.

It’s a good thing. My grizzled face is not something anyone in their right mind would rush to have immortalised on glossy photographic paper and framed in the living room.

We’re in the selfie age. Which means I choose when my picture is taken. And believe me, there isn’t a selfie stick long enough for me to take a picture of myself. If they start selling 40ft long selfie sticks, I’ll consider taking a selfie. Until then, I’m quite happy we live in an age where glossy photographs are as rare as, well, mandolins.