Arrived safely back in NYC from Chicago – apparently, just in time with major snowfall expected tomorrow and Tuesday. Either my second or third winter in Chicago (so early 2010 or 2011), something similar happened and Lakeshore Drive was so covered that cars were abandoned all along its stretch to the east of the Loop. I don’t have any photos or videos of it, though, not having had a smartphone or camera at that time since I was still in a post-college funk. It’s like a missing photo chapter in my life.
On the subject of cameras, a much bigger event, the first Obama electoral victory, took place a few months after I moved to Chicago in 2008. Grant Park was full of people holding point-and-shoot digital cameras. I never had one of my own, but I suppose I didn’t need it: that moment was probably the peak of the standalone casual camera era, since the iPhone 3GS – with dramatically improved camera and performance over 2008 – was on the horizon that summer.
I arrived in Chicago in 2008 with a Motorola RAZR and departed (sort of; I’ll probably be back, and I visit often) with an iPhone 6 Plus. There was a gap from September 2008 to July 2011 when I didn’t have a smartphone or a camera because I couldn’t afford either, and in retrospect it’s perhaps too bad that I couldn’t capture certain moments since I didn’t have a high-paying job.
Luckily, my spouse had an iPhone from 2008 onward and took plenty of good pictures. Still, I hope that someday, if humans still exist and society really has changed its attitude to care more for the non-wealthy, that one of the biggest moral blindspots that future generations will ridicule and find outrageous is the notion that humans must have occupations – determined by randomness and all sorts of inscrutable “physical world“-style behaviors – in order to simply survive. Or take a good photo, for that matter.