Old Is Gold When It Comes to Art

Ruben Estrada, Staff Reporter

In the age of iPods, YouTube and digital downloading, everything is all about easy access, not quality. Today, everything is all about getting everything right away, from the comfort of our own homes, which hurts the way we think about things like music, movies, and many other forms of art that have gone to a mainly digital format.

Recently, I was in Barnes and Noble during my lunch break at work. I was just taking a look around when I noticed a new section: The Record Player and Vinyl Stand. Intrigued, I took a look at the record payers and thumbed through the albums for a bit.

One day later I decided to go for it, and bought my first record player, along with a few albums. I did not know what to expect, all I knew was every old person I talked to said it sounded better than the way we listen to music today.

Let me tell you, they were one hundred percent right. Popping that giant black vinyl on, and carefully pressing the needle down onto it was such an extraordinary feeling. Watching it rotate and listening to the music was mesmerizing. The pure sound made it seem like the music was in the room with me, and not 1000 miles away like an iPod speaker does. It made listening to the music an experience.

All of this probably sounds nostalgic and corny, but it really is the case. It is impossible to take art for granted when you gently pull the record out of the wax paper casing inside the huge album cover. There is no way you can let a shuffle playlist ramble on in your ears, you choose exactly what you want.

Music is not the only thing the computer age has touched. I feel that movies are negatively impacted by this as well. My favorite place in the entire world is Great American Video and Espresso, a small coffee shop/DVD store. The place is filled with walls and walls of all kinds of movies from all kinds of genres and subgenres of films, including a Jackie Chan collection.

Being able to skim the shelves, and actually pick up the cases is something that was fun to me as a little kid, and that part of me has stuck around. I think a lot of people miss the Blockbuster and Hollywood Videos, and while those may be gone, there are still several independent movie stores all around Portland. Next time you are in the mood for a movie, try stopping by a video store instead of the nearest Redbox, or buying it On Demand.

Photography and film are some less known changes, but I still feel people would appreciate if changed back to previous ways. I remember the first digital camera my mom got, and being so excited at the instantaneous ability to have pictures available to view. While there is a benefit to this style, from important news coverage all the way down to social media, instant photography and video serves a purpose.

When it comes to things like photography and shooting movies, I find the quality of film to be far superior. Film grain gives both motion and still photography a pure look, while digitally shot images look like a picture or video on a computer screen. Just as with renting movies or listening to music, film creates a stronger sense of purpose. You do not get seventeen chances to take the same shot, and you will not have your pictures accessible in minutes. The photography becomes a process, with meaning, allowing true art to be created.

I am not an angry hipster who hates all new things and only likes old products. Not only this, but I do not wish to see older ways of art make a comeback for nostalgic reasons alone. In my experience, I truly find several older products to be better for the art. The modern day is all about making things accessible quickly, and having everything be at the tips of our fingers. While there are some positives from this, I feel they do not apply to art.

Art is not about getting things done quickly, or even easily. It is about expression and creating the best work possible, which I feel can only be done with the best utilities, which in this case happens to be older items.

I challenge everyone to give these things a try. And do not get me wrong, I’m not saying we should not be allowed to listen to our iPods when we jog, or that we cannot go through 15 takes of the same selfie on Snapchat. All I am saying is that when it comes to art, do what you can to make sure you are getting the most out of it, which all starts with how you go about experiencing it. If you give record players and movie stores a chance, I am willing to bet you won’t regret it.

Photo source: http://www.thephysicsmill.com/2013/01/06/sound-vinyl-records-vs-digital-files/