2021-11-22 19:53   参考消息网  


The Magic of Bad Photos


Pamela Paul 帕梅拉·保罗

t's rare to see a bad photo today. If, by chance, a bad photo is taken and cannot be filtered, edited, or otherwise enhanced into something visually acceptable, it is swiftly deleted.

It wasn't always like this. Bad pictures used to abound in what could seem like an almost deliberate, karmic attempt to humiliate and haunt their imperfect subjects. Back when the one-click Kodak dominated, most pictures were not worth keeping. No one could figure out how to operate the focus. Hardly anyone knew when to turn off the flash, or how. Few people had any aesthetic sense.

You never knew what you would get once the little button was clicked. You had to wait to find out, usually a week or longer, until 24-hour photo shops were introduced. You'd head back to a Fotomat after having dropped off the little black plastic roll, full of hope,barely remembering what was on there,because film was precious and the roll may have taken months to complete,especially if it was a 36 rather than a 24, only to open the envelope and discover one blurred atrocity after another.

Browsing through photo albums from this time is like encountering a dark period from an inexplicable and occasionally brutal-looking past, one in which everyone cried at parties and scowled through reunions. No one ever thought to bring a camera along on those rare moments when you were looking your best. School pictures routinely documented the horror. Your braces. The uneven middle part. That mottled gray backdrop. You might try to hide the telltale 8-by-10 envelope from your parents—of course they'd ordered an overpriced set—but they'd keep the photos anyway, as if out of spite.

From this angle, it was impossible to fathom the impending dominance of the selfie. Who knew how much people would adore taking pictures of themselves? That teenagers, a traditionally awkward and self-conscious set, could spend entire afternoons posing and perfecting shots of themselves. That seniors worldwide would love selfies so much, tour buses would make stops not for plain old photos of landscapes and landmarks but for pictures of the tourists themselves.

And yet. Snap-happy people today seem to miss something about those less inhibited, less groomed days. Young digital types have taken up the popular Dispo camera app, which forces its users to wait until 9 a.m. the following day before photos“develop” and they can view the damage. Dispo calls itself a “live in the moment” social-media product—no editing, no hashtags, no captions. Is it possible that bad photos showed us something we wanted or needed to see?







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