The shared joy of 35mm slide projectors
For your delectation, I start this post with a link to the classic Madmen “Kodak Carousel” clip. (Sorry can’t embed this one, AMC rights issues)
This week we’re back in Ottawa for a pre-Christmas visit. Speaking with my father before the trip, we realised most of our memories from 1970-1979 were on little 35mm slides. We agreed we would look at the family slides together this week to decide which ones to get scanned into .jpeg format professionally.
After sitting down with my family (one generation up and one generation down) to view 200 slides on a 1971 GAF 1670 projector we learned a few more points about slide projecting that Don Draper didn’t mention:
- 35mm slides – even 38 year old slides through a 38 year old projector – look so much nicer and richer and real than any digital image could
- Ever since the year 2000, people share images, but they don’t look at pictures together and talk about them
- Ever since Flickr and Facebook, people share images, but don’t really appreciate the value of each memory
- Dust flickering in front of a slide projector lens looks like it has a soundtrack which is a high-quality fan noise
- When there is only one copy of a photo, it is priceless – you almost don’t want to scan them because that would be counterfeiting
- The ceremony of physically sitting together in a room to look at a wall of memories is incredibly bonding
- People who shared the memories look at each other and realise “we actually really liked each other most of the time”
- Younger people looking at the images for the first time concentrate a lot more than they do on the thousands of images on a computer
I know digital photography is wonderful, but the enjoyment of those photos is definitely less special than a proper slide show. A shared joy is a double joy.