Oldskooler Ramblings

the unlikely child born of the home computer wars

Inanimate Empathy

Posted by Trixter on January 28, 2006

My very first digital camera broke today: A Casio QV-3000EX, purchased in early 2001. The second 3-megapixel camera ever on the market, it took brilliant outdoor shots in automatic mode, and took generally stellar pictures if you knew how to use its manual settings (f-stop, apeture, shutter speed, and more). See for yourself; here are some shots taken in full automatic mode:

Lee and Alexis HaskellJohn, Sam, and Max Leonard

I took the time to learn a few things about amateur photography and how to use some of the manual settings, and it took some the best 3MP shots I’ve ever done:

Tree In FogChicago At Dusk1-minute chickKite in Sky

I loved this camera. I mean, I really got to know everything about it, what its strengths were, weaknesses, and more. when I put it in the trash, I felt like I was burying a friend.

And right now I’m thinking, why? Why am I personifying this camera like it’s a friend that I’ve lost? Why do we, as a society, project empathy onto inanimate objects like they’re people? Several times while writing this post, I wanted to use terms like “my camera gave up the ghost” or “it finally died”. I felt strongly enough about my first computer that I wrote fiction from its point of view. People call ships and planes “old girl” or even actual female pronouns like “old bessy” or “nellie”. It’s fascinating, and probably answered in a psychology book somewhere.

I’m going to replace it with a used model, probably off of ebay. I wonder if it will mean as much to me as the original did.

4 Responses to “Inanimate Empathy”

  1. Matt Hite said

    That dead bird is spooky.

  2. Trixter said

    It’s not dead!!! It’s a newborn chick one minute out of its shell.

  3. Matt Hite said

    I thought it was one that “didn’t make it.” Cool pic!

  4. […] Mine broke a while ago. I finally found a replacement at a reasonable price (ie. under $20). I am taking pictures again. I am happy. […]

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