Sunday, November 09, 2008

Digital Memories

Does anyone develop film anymore? I started wondering about this after listening to Case & Joe’s “Faded Pictures,” easily the best song from the Rush Hour soundtrack. (No…“Can I Get A” was not the best song from that album. You can’t give that distinction to any song featuring Ja Rule.)

I can’t even recall the last time I had a roll of film developed. In fact, it had been so long since I even used a film camera, that when some tourists had me take their picture in Central Park this summer using an old school film camera, I actually had a problem taking their picture.

There was no optical zoom function, so my positioning was poor. On top of that, I held the button down too long and used up two shots. I thought I had to hold down the button for the redeye reduction flash. What a waste. Being Asian, this was tremendously embarrassing. I pride myself on my photo-taking abilities.

We live in an age where almost everything is stored digitally. People just use Flickr, Picasa, Facebook or some other online avenue to store photos. Even picture frames are digital. All you have to do is insert a flash drive into a frame, and you all of a sudden have a rotating photo album.

The reason I’m intrigued by this subject is because I wonder if “Faded Pictures” could even be written today. I imagine most musicians today still remember developed photographs. However, writing a song relating old relationships to faded pictures wouldn’t exactly resonate.

For an analogy, we can look to one of the immediate post-breakup scenes from Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Peter, the main character, is arguing with his brother Brian about deleting all the old photos of him and Sarah from his computer. A sulking Peter is sitting in front of his Mac contemplating deleting all the photos that remind of him of his relationship. He can’t push himself to do it because he wants to save them “just in case” he and Sarah get back together. In a step aimed at moving on and away from the past and after much comical struggle and debate, Brian ultimately deletes the photos for Peter.

Rush Hour and “Faded Pictures” were made ten years ago. If Forgetting Sarah Marshall were made ten years ago, that scene either wouldn’t have existed or would’ve been completely different. I didn’t know too many people storing pictures on computers or online ten years ago. If an old photographs scene were still in the movie, it would’ve been done using a photo album or a shoebox of pictures.

“Faded Pictures” probably couldn’t be made today. I suppose a song with the same theme could be made, but it would be challenging. How would songwriter make the process at looking at old photos online seem like a deep emotional experience? Perhaps with the right singer and the right song, it could happen. But it probably won’t.

I bet what will happen is some lame musician like the Jonas Brothers will write some cheesy breakup song about how badly the memories hurt and how they’ll have to untag themselves in Facebook albums…if it hasn’t been done already. Save me please.


  1. I actually had one of those "should I delete these moments" back in the day. I didn't choose to keep them because I thought we might get back together though; I kept them because I realized how good I looked.

    Flint "I'll never de-friend TDB" Skinny

  2. i still develop black and white film.
    just because i have to do it for school! haha