Camera passes pencil in usefulness


We are still a long way from the…camera that would be, oh, like the telephone: something that you use all day long…a camera which you would use not on the occasion of parties only, or when your grandchildren came to see you, but a camera that you would use as often as your pencil or your eyeglasses, something that was always with you.

Edwin Land, 1970 in C. Bonanos, Instant: the Story of Polaroid, 2012.

While my camera use has not yet surpassed the use of my glasses, I think it has topped my use of a pencil. Here are ten ways I used my camera recently:

  1. Took a photo of the broken hinge on my laptop to support a warranty claim.
  2. Captured a white board discussion outlining new printer designs.
  3. Photographed a book I wanted to read.
  4. Documented the books I was returning to the library to ensure that my account was correct.
  5. Took a picture of my son’s Boy Scout handbook to show the requirements he had completed at summer camp.
  6. Recorded an error message on the dashboard in my car.
  7. Photographed our vacuum cleaner so that I could get the correct replacement bags.
  8. Took a picture of a light fixture that needed replacing,
  9. Captured my parking place at the airport.
  10. Photographed an invitation to National Night Out.

None of these photographs are of significant life events; yet they were all important to me. And more significantly, I was able to record a photo that contained far more information than notes in the past.

Clearly, with the digital camera we have achieved Edwin Land’s vision from 1970, perhaps not in the way that he envisioned but clearly in the spirit.


About Mark Mizen

I have over twenty years professional experience in all aspects of photography and digital imaging. I am Chair of the ISO WG5 TG2 committee responsible for physical properties and durability of imaging material and am currently with HID Global working on systems for security printing for IDs, licenses, and credit cards. Previously, I was Director of Digital Development at Creative Memories from 2009 to 2012 and was responsible for the Creative Memories digital products and services. I also established and directed the Creative Memories Technology Center, which evaluated new products prior to product introduction, assisted with production difficulties, and provided technical information to support product sales.
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1 Response to Camera passes pencil in usefulness

  1. Jackie Beechner-Scallan says:

    My cell phone camera is my note pad! I even take pictures of business cards and put them in my contacts on my phone… far less clutter and I’m far more organized. Today I was searching for a particular brand of tee shirt my husband likes. I showed the clerk at the store the picture I took of the tag, and she could immediately tell me I would have to look at another store or go online to find those shirts…. cut my shopping time dramatically! Only downfall is when I’m talking with someone on the phone and they are trying to give me information… then I have to say, “Can you please send me an email with all that information in it?” Ok, so my “note pad” has its limitations!

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