Since the birth of the digital revolution and the Apple/You Tube-led ‘do it yourself’ attitude, a lot of analog and slow-moving technology has fallen by the wayside in favour of newer, faster digital technology. Examples of this are the film camera, the typewriter and the artist’s canvas.
The thing is with older technology though, is that it has a sort of loveable character to it, like when you play that old record and you take it out of the sleeve to place the needle in the groove. It’s exactly the same as pressing play on your brand new iPod touch, but somehow it feels more real. You can actually close your eyes and picture the band playing in the studio, every note played etched into the vinyl as it spins. It’s magic, it’s real.
As much as digital technology is praised and become an integral part of our lives, it has also been shunned as characterless and ‘flat’. The revolution of retro has claimed back some of the technologies of old, such as retro video gaming, and it’s about time we highlighted just why we love the original gadgets of the day.
Why we love it: Film has charm. It’s the little smears and light-glares that are so easily erased and corrected in Photoshop that make film photography special. If you took a roll of 35mm film and went on a trip to the city or an adventure, snapping along the way; you’d never know what you’d got until the day you got them developed. There was a certain skill to manually adjusting aperture and shutter speed and then not being able to ‘delete’ and re-take, with only your instinct to go off.
Then there’s the dark room experience. If you didn’t want to pay for developing every time to wanted to see your photos, you could invest in your own dark room facility. If you were really creative you could ‘treat’ film with destructive agents such as lemon juice and vinegar; it was the ‘filter effect’ that existed before Photoshop.
The new alternative: The digital camera.
The benefits of digital technology: These days the digital camera has taken film’s spot, due to it’s extremely useful and groundbreaking ability to always ensure a great shot every time. The invention of the viewfinder, plus the ability to load onto our computers and print and share for free, changed the way we take photographs forever.
Why we love it: A product that has been redundant for many decades now, the typewriter was the iconic go-to tool for any serious writer. The famous ‘click-clacking’ of the keys and the switch of the page mechanism, is a sound we are all familiar with – even if we were too young to experience the wide use of them.
The typewriter was also the first time writers could ‘print’ words rather than write them, speeding up writing a great deal. Writer such as Jack Kerouac would employ a technique called ‘automatic writing’, whereby he would just type what came into his head, for hours on end. This couldn’t have been done without the use of a keyboard.
The new alternative: The Macbook Pro with Microsoft Word
The benefits of digital technology: Laptops have more ergonomically friendly keyboards, which allow for even faster typing and when you pair this with Microsoft Word’s ability to ‘backspace’, this meant that you never had to throw another screwed up ball of paper away again.
The artist’s blank canvas
Why we love it: The raw energy of attacking a blank canvas with paints, watercolours, inks, spray-paint, whatever you can get your hands on etc, is a work of art in itself. The painter would immerse themselves in the work, throwing paint all over the place, not caring for the mess around the studio. If you happened to walk into an artist’s studio while he was at work, it could be a very intense yet exhilarating sight indeed.
The new alternative: Adobe Creative Suite.
The benefits of digital technology: In Adobe Creative Suite, with programmes such as Illustrator, you have a multitude of tools at your disposal. You may put forward a hefty price tag – or more recently, an ongoing monthly fee – but there’s no studio rental necessary, no trips to the supplies shop for more brushes and canvas, and no mess!
What do you miss about the analog world? Do you still use tools today that may be considered ‘old’ and ‘outdated’? We’d love to know what you have to say about this. Speak to us about it on our Twitter, Facebook or Google + pages.