Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Something remarkable

Went to a restaurant called "Wildfire" last night (professional meeting)--it's supposed to evoke memories of 1940s chop houses, and does so reasonably well--and one thing on the wall made me make a double take. There was a picture of a birthday party, circa late 1940s, at a table, and every one of the dozen or so people there was smiling well. Teeth, eyes, everything was done right, and this from an age before 800 speed film and monster aperture lenses.

Contrast that with today, when you're hard pressed to be able to get three adults to even do a half-smile at once. If you want a picture of the changes in our culture, you can do worse than to go here.

The food's OK, too, though a little bit bland and "half-hearted" at times.


pentamom said...

Could it be that with everybody flashing phones and cameras around all the time, we're just not as up for making the effort to create a really nice picture for someone? Whereas 60 years ago, having a picture taken was a bit more of an event -- that picture was probably one of only a very few, if not the only one, taken of that group that night.

How many times can you stop the conversation and the eating, look up, and provide a nice picture for everybody in the group who wants a wave a camera around? But if someone just wants a couple of nice pictures, you'll pose nicely.

What do you think?

kingdavid said...

Is this one of those--"if you have to ask the price, you can't afford it places?" The menu looks good, I'm just wondering if we'd need to take out a loan to eat there.

I wonder what they charged for the 22 oz. Chicago Cut prime rib back in the 40's.

pentamom said...

On the other side of the coin, though, is the fact in those days that people didn't go out to a decent restaurant while simultaneously believing they didn't want anyone to see what they looked like. Nowadays, you can have people at a social gathering who start freaking out at the idea that someone's going to preserve their appearance, because they can simultaneously believe that they're fit to be at a social occasion, and not fit to have anyone see them. This renders them less inclined to be enthusiastic or cooperative for a photographer. So that is a significant cultural shift.

Bike Bubba said...

KD, about $30-$50 a plate or so--and I am not quite sure it was worth it. Since it was a business event, I didn't have to pay. The beef and desserts were good, but the shrimp, chicken, and salads were so-so--the natural pungency of the food was somehow muted.

For my money, I somehow prefer to buy the beef, let it age in my fridge, and enjoy it cooked my way. (salt, pepper, parsley, sear it well, serve still mooing)

Jane, certainly the cameraman was a more unique person back then--to get the picture to look good at 5' square, it had to be a professional with a medium form factor unit and a bunch of flash powder. It certainly wasn't a $7 disposable being used in that case.

What specific things can we infer? Not sure. The obvious thing is that people viewed a night out as something special, and dressed for the occasion. They also dressed so their family wouldn't be ashamed of the picture--and I suppose that might have a lot to do with why they smiled instead of hid.

Bike Bubba said...

BTW, can anyone tell that photography is starting to be one of my hobbies? :^)

p said...

Right, your last paragraph in #4 is what I meant by #3.

I do think camera fatigue also plays a role, although dressing up suitably so as to have no need to be ashamed is probably the larger factor.