Corine Dehghanpisheh

Children's Picture Book Author and Illustrator

Writer and illustrator of children's picture books.

Growing Up Without Digital Photography

While creating my book - #BabyLove: My Social Life, I thought about growing up in the 70's without digital cameras, phones, or tablets.

Photo by Stephanie Swartz/iStock / Getty Images

I realized one result immediately.  I had very few photos taken during my childhood.  Most of the photos that I do have were taken for annual school yearbook pictures.  The others were random shots usually taken during a family holiday event or at an important milestone event such as my kindergarten graduation below. 

Kindergarten Graduation with my twin sister. #BabyLove #LifeWithoutDigitalPhotography #ItWasThe70's

Kindergarten Graduation with my twin sister. #BabyLove #LifeWithoutDigitalPhotography #ItWasThe70's

Most of my family pictures were taken with a Polaroid camera.  This is how we were almost immediately able to see the photo.  (Plus or minus a few seconds of waving the film in the air to develop.)   I remember anxiously awaiting its development.  Then immediately judging the picture as  “good” or “bad.”  I also remember if it was bad, there was rarely a "do over."  The awkward photo just remained a part of our history and put into an album for a good laugh later in life. 

Recently, I found some of those old photos and had a good laugh.  

Photography for the general public was so different at that time.  Photographs were usually well posed; at times some were candid but definitely very few selfies. 

New bikes.  #Polaroids #LifeWithoutDigitalPhotography

New bikes.  #Polaroids #LifeWithoutDigitalPhotography

I remember after finishing a roll of film I would anxiously wait to get the film developed.   Only to be disappointed that someone didn’t smile or looked away.  Usually someone's eyes were usually closed, or the photograph experience one of the million unforeseen disruptions to the “good shot.” 

One example of such a disappointment occurred during elementary school, my twin sister and I were in a school play around Thanksgiving time.  I guess we were reenacting the first Thanksgiving, I am not sure.  Anyways, after school my mom took a photo of us (below) to remember the event.  But for some reason my twin sister toppled over during the process (I am not sure why or what happened but she was fine.)

Photo after our Thanksgiving play.  #BabyLove #LifeWithoutDigitalPhotography

Photo after our Thanksgiving play.  #BabyLove #LifeWithoutDigitalPhotography

My mom swore that she took the picture before my sister toppled over.  This was the only shot from that memorable experience. 

I don't know why she didn't retake it just in case.  But I guess that wasn't how things were done back then.

One thing I know for sure, I wish we had more pictures, especially some videos.  At the same time, I enjoy the laughs of the random shots, posed or otherwise.

What are your memorable experiences of living without digital photography?