Growing up, my family was into still pictures – sort of – not movies.
My mother had a black and white Kodak Brownie, and at some point in the late 1950’s my father decided to be an early adopter of the Polaroid. Cameras were used to chronicle holidays – Christmas and Easter (oddly, never Thanksgiving), special events (First Communion), and other family gatherings. I suppose they would have chronicled vacations if we’d ever gone any place really exciting. But vacation meant one of three things: Chicago to visit family, the Cape or day trips. The only vacation pictures I recall seeing are family pictures taken at my Chicago grandmother’s house on Sand Lake (which, in truth, should have been called Muck Pond), which was about 50 miles or so outside of Chicago, or – on the occasion of my cousin Michael’s christening – in the Dineens’ back yard.
When my father got that PoIaroid – which, by the way, unlike the Brownie, never went on a road trip – many of the pictures taken were us sitting around the living room or the family room doing nothing. Thus there is a picture taken by my mother of my sitting with my father on the LR couch. I’ve got my hair done up in spoolies, with a nifty little night cap to hold the spoolies in place.
But vacation pictures? We didn’t really do things on vacation, so why make a big deal out of it by taking a lot of pictures. When we went to famous places, i.e., downtown Chicago, we bought postcards. Who in the world would have thought of taking pictures of themselves in a famous place? Huh?
As for movies, that was my Grandmother Wolf’s province.
The Wolfs were actually photography mad.
There are hardly any pictures of my father when he was a kid or of anyone in his family. The Rogers just weren’t big on pictures.
But the Wolfs…
I wouldn’t be surprised if their first picture in the New World was a camera, purchased to take snapshots to send back to the Old World.
As kids, it was great fun to go through the family picture box, quizzing my mother on who was what in all those 1930’s pics.
Given what keen photographers they were, it’s no surprise that the Wolfs would get a movie camera.
Alas, the wonderful reels my Grandmother Wolf shot were lost when my Aunt Kay’s kids burnt their house down. (Not exaggerating here, by the way.)
My husband and I weren’t big on taking pictures or videoing. Every once in a while we’d get a disposable camera and take some pictures. Film anything? Memories are meant for the brain, not the screen. (Now I wish we’d actually taken some pictures or videos of our many trips. Je regrette un peu…)
Others, of course, have a far greater desire to record their every move, especially if they’re on a trip.
And if you’re taking a fancy-arse trip with a fancy-arse travel company, you can get your adventure for posterity by hiring filmmaker Tim Browning. He’s worked on plenty of big budget films – Skyfall for one – but now “he has signed on as the exclusive drone photographer for bespoke travel outfitter Black Tomato.”
Among the things he might capture while heading up Black Tomato's just-launched "Drone the World" initiative: travelers on motorcycle tours of Ho Chi Minh City, sand boarding down the dunes of Namibia’s Skeleton Coast, hiking along the Great Wall of China, or scaling a volcano in Iceland. Unlike major metropolitan areas, these iconic destinations are among the places where drones are allowed to film freely. (Source: Bloomberg)
I’ll have to keep this in mind if I ever decide to go sand boarding on the Skeleton Coast.
Anyway, this does not, of course, come cheap. The “starting price per person for a weekend trip that includes Browning as a tag-along guest” is $5.5K.
For those still enamored of stills, Flytographer has operatives in cities around the world, and you can book one for a half hour starting at $250.
One of the downsides of traveling these days is all the annoying selfie-takers. Now we’ll have to start factoring in the annoyance of drones and flytographers. Oh, well, I guess the upside is that most of this will be digital, so there’ll be less for your heirs to throw away when you’ve had your last close up.