Friday, November 21, 2008

New York Times: A Couple of Beers and 140 Views of Yellowstone

I have a personal essay in today's (November 21) New York Times; it is entitled: The Slide Show: A Couple of Beers and 140 Views of Yellowstone.

It starts:

Every year of my childhood, my parents took my brother and me on one big trip. A few months later our neighbors, if they couldn’t think up a reasonable excuse, came over for the Slide Show. For those whose only memories of sharing photographs involve Flickr or iPhoto, I should explain that this involved tiny squares placed into an electronic projector to display oversized images as a friendly host droned on … and on … about what was in them.

Now people share photographs through e-mailed pictures, postings on a Web site or — for the truly ambitious — a digital movie accompanied by Coldplay. It’s all fun and easy, and I use all these modern image-sharing tools myself. But we have lost the great tradition of going on a journey and then, back home, telling your stories to friends and colleagues while they endure your 140 slides of Yellowstone.

All of the great explorers practiced post-travel show-and-tell rituals in some form, and many renowned institutions of exploration, like the National Geographic Society, were born from the desire to share unseen worlds, solicit funds and brag.

Most people who have actually experienced traditional slide shows are reading this and silently praying that I don’t try to revive them. But for me, our family slide shows held great meaning...

Click here to read the rest of the piece.


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