Last night, when I was almost ready to go into the lounge-at-home mode, I got an email from Cole Rise, who was the first person I had interviewed for Pi.co. If you have not read our conversation, I urge you to find time and you will then understand why despite being tired to the bone, I went to meet Cole for a chat. We have not seen each other for almost a year and a lot has happened in our lives, so there was a lot to catch up.
We ended up talking about a variety of things, including his new obsession, recreating and restoring space cameras. He showed me one made out of space grade aluminum and it looked so cool – retro, futuristic and yet classic, all at the same time. It made me realize that design and materials when combined can convey a sense of time, age and timelessness.
Cole, these days has been using a Leica M-P film camera for most of his personal photography and that too is an example of design that reflects its past and timelessness effectively. He said that the “film” is interesting to him because it takes a little bit of time for him to get the results and there is a sense of anticipation. When you take photos with your digital cameras, there isn’t much anticipation. Digital and analog photography touch up different parts of our brain and elicit very different emotional reactions.
The delayed gratification of analog (film) comes from the surprise you get when you see the results of your efforts. That reminded me of my dinner with Amit “SuperAmit” Gupta, who asked me to order dinner for him since I knew the restaurant so well. And then he put his hands on his ears. “I want to be surprised, by what you ordered for me,” he said. “There is so little surprise left in our lives, thanks to the Internet.”
Indeed, almost all of world’s information is available to us all the time, anywhere, thanks to the computing marvels in our pockets. Instagram, with its 16 billion photos and growing, makes it easy to get any, every and all views of a destination. You can visit Michelin star restaurants without even wearing your pajamas. You can see into the lives of rich, infamous and strangers.
As this line between reality and imagination is becoming fainter and fainter, we are all left yearning for more, a deeper and meaingful expression. A phone call, a handwritten note, a tiny gift causing heightened emotional reactions because they are not anticipated, these are all just a surprise. A little surprise, with big meaning.
December 8, 2015, New York City.