Pushing out the old

Though the older items we love are often bathed in memories, it doesn’t take much for those items to be replaced. Something new. Something better. More convenient. More flashy.

Is it because there’s no time in life to focus on the past? Or because we’re constantly trying to not only one up our neighbors and friends, but our own history as well?

This camera was Kerrie’s first SLR, purchased in college, a trusty and solid Nikon N60 – a friend through a semester abroad, documenting an eye-opening experience in a way her own eyes failed to keep.

A few years back, it broke. Needing a camera, we found it was probably cheaper to simply purchase a small point and shoot. Years later, knowing the technology was advanced enough to make the price worthwhile, we purchased our new camera – a Canon XTI.

Yet this sturdy standby still stands on our bookshelf, gazing onto my shoulders as I upload hundreds of new photos – numbers its poor analog mind can’t quite comprehend, at speeds it was never meant to exceed.

I imagine it wonders what happened. After all, it hasn’t been that long.

And yet, here it is. The same concept, occurring in real life. With real people. Terry Wooster is forced out at the Argus Leader after decades of service to newspaper journalism. Aging creatives are squeezed out around agencies across the nation not for failing to keep up with an ever-changing landscape of design but for being too expensive to keep on. Older businesses are forced to close as they find themselves lagging behind fresh new companies with fresh ideas on how customers want to be treated.

The old becomes baggage, forcing its weight upon the new generation, bending the necks of fresh talent with a millstone of history, proven success and life lessons. Whether it’s because of resources or innovation or basic bull-headedness, things change, and those that don’t are doomed to antiquity.

Sometimes it’s for the best. Sometimes, it’s painfully obvious that the old traditions need to go. But that doesn’t make it any easier to look tradition – to stare down the barrel of this Nikon’s kit lens – and think about what we’re letting go. What we’re pushing aside.

Especially knowing that, someday, I could be sitting on my own shelf, looking over the shoulder of someone who once needed my services but, unfortunately, has moved on to something newer and fresher. It’s a sobering thought. I give a lot of credit to nostalgia, to remembering what came before us and admiring that which was successful, even if no longer so.

Thankfully, I have an advantage over that camera.

After all, the camera couldn’t keep up because it was physically impossible to do so. It couldn’t suddenly insert a digital frame inside of its analog body. It couldn’t change. Couldn’t advance. Couldn’t improve.

But I can.

NIkon N60

This was lovingly handwritten on January 18th, 2009