I was looking through some old photos I took from 1998-2002, some using a 1 megapixel camera while the rest were from a 3 megapixel camera. I had seen these images dozens of times before, and remembered them as well-composed, sharp photos. I was really getting into photography back then and I recalled the photos as my best work. Taking a fresh look at them today, the first thing that hit me was whoa, the photo quality is terrible! There is clearly a lot of low resolution blur going on. What happened to my mind’s beautiful memories of these images?
Here’s one I shot at SF’s MoMA. I remember thinking it was so arty and geometric and I recall it not being blurry but looking really sharp. If you look at it now, the screen over the window is a completely pixelated blur. I recall the same feeling when looking at Jason’s photos from Web98. I remember when the photos were new and I thought they were great back then but looking at them now, the quality is worse than my first cameraphone. Another old photo of bloggers got this reaction from me today. Back when I first saw it 6 years ago, it was a great photo. Today, it looks awful, severely limited by the technology of the day.
With the advent of better sensors and digital SLRs, it’s pretty astounding what comes out of a digital camera today. In an instant, I realized how fast and far the technology progressed in less than ten years. Could you imagine if traditional photography progressed from gelatin silver prints to medium format in less than a decade?