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A digital mindset still nurtures analog longings

Updated: 2022-06-28 06:30 ( China Daily )
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Most of us are familiar with the facets and foibles of the generations and the basic differences among them, from the self-centered, social media obsessed Gen Z and their gift for being able to take offense at everything, to the baby boomers-the last generation able to purchase property without having to chop off a limb or two to cover the deposit.

Owen Fishwick [Photo/China Daily]

But unlike those labored stereotypes, I'm unique. Aren't we all? I'm a "xennial". What, you ask? Indeed. A "xennial" is a cross over or micro-generation. "Xennials", born between the late 1970s and early 1980s grew up with an analog childhood and a digital young adulthood.

And being labeled among this group, forever split between the old world and the new, I am a walking dichotomy.

I enjoy the wearing of a smart watch from time to time, but I'll be damned if I will allow it to suggest to me mid-jog: "It appears you've gone for a run, would you like me to record it for you?" No, I would not, thank you. I'm sure when I trundle out of bed the following morning and make my way to the bathroom as if I were auditioning for the hunchback of Notre Dame, I'll remember.

I am always fitted with the latest smart phone, but I'll also be damned if I'll use all the high-tech bells and whistles and glitter and baubles that it comes stuffed with. I'd be perfectly happy with a nice chunk of Nokia 3210, and the snake mini-game as my only luxury. That is, until I need to hire a taxi, order some food or pay for literally anything, anywhere.

And I'm the same with regard to photography. To some extent. When I started university studying journalism and photomedia everything was film. The students could be seen snapping away with their Ricoh KR-5s and Nikon F80s, all while stinking of developing fluid. A few short years later the stink was gone, sadly, and the students were running around with USBs in their hands instead of lightmeters and talking about something called "mega pixies"?

After digital came in I fell out of love with photography. I loved the labor required to produce a photograph with film. The taking of the light reading, the setting of the aperture and shutter speed, the choice of film speed and stock.


Is it a good photo?

Who knows, but the process has only just begun. Next you need to take the film out, thread it onto a spindle and load that spindle into a developing canister.

Can I see it yet?


Then you need to make decisions about at what temperature you want your developer to be and how long and vigorous you want to agitate the canister. Then stop bath, then fixer.

Surely we are done now?

Not quite.

After the film is developed then we need to take the negatives and head to the enlarging room.

OK, stop. If this had been digital, we'd have taken and previewed, deleted and retaken a million photos by now.

And that is the point. Digital photography removes the suspense, the anticipation, the danger from the entire process. You can always just preview, delete and retake a photo at the scene. I want the risk of ruined family holiday snaps, damn it!

And now I return to the "xennial "in me. I recently bought a camera. A modern camera. A modern digital camera that crucially also can be operated as if it were just one of those old Ricoh KR-5s, with the clicking aperture ring, the shutter wheel, the manual focus.

The camera has a display on the back, but I choose not to use it. I can preview my images, but I don't. It has rekindled my passion for photography and reawakened a joy of an analog childhood.

And after all, what is a photograph but a document of the past.

I descend on a moonlit hutong. A thin shaft of incandescent light falls to the floor at my feet.


Scene captured. I'm on a case. Slow tumbling jazz begins to flow from some dive bar in the distance.

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The news conference of the 2022 China International Travel Mart, Kunming, Yunnan province. [Photo/Chinaculture.org]

The 2022 China International Travel Mart was launched in Kunming, Yunnan province today. The three-day event opened at the Kunming Dianchi Lake International Convention and Exhibition Centre, with a theme focusing on smart innovation and high-quality tourism industry aspects.

The news conference was held in the city on Thursday. Zhang Xilong, first class inspector of the Bureau of the International Communication and Cooperation of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China and Lou Kewei, deputy-director of the Department of Culture and Tourism of Yunnan province presented the meeting along with academy and entrepreneur representatives.

The conference introduced the preparations and relevant activities of the mart, such as a forum on smart tourism and innovation, a symposium on international travel communication and cooperation in the framework of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and a workshop on the China-Laos railway’s contribution to building an Asian community with a shared future.

According to the news meeting, the 2022 travel mart covers about 80,000 square meters, with about 4,200 standard booths. 71 countries and regions attended the event both online and offline, and 31 domestic provinces, cities and autonomous regions and 261 independent exhibition teams.

Online services will be provided to the overseas buyers and sellers in the light of time zones. They could also have a face-to-face negotiation at the mart as well.

The mart also has diverse displays to show culture and tourism, physical education and tourism, as well as overseas tourism and museums.

The National Cultural Heritage Administration, the Palace Museum and museums from other provinces will attend the travel mart.

At the event, Yunnan province will have 2,000 standard booths in four separate sections; each will show culture tourism, healthy lifestyles, physical education tourism and culture tourism consumption.

The travel mart will also stick to the rules of pandemic prevention and control while having the activities go on smoothly.

The news conference of the 2022 China International Travel Mart, Kunming, Yunnan province. [Photo/Chinaculture.org]
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