Point and Click

Paul Keens-Douglas tries to get his photograph taken

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If you want to know how many dotish people there are walking around these islands, then buy a camera, buy a camera.

Imagine, years now I don’t have a camera, never even thought of owning one. Wherever I go, other people are always taking my picture, you know how it is, or asking me to take theirs with their camera. But I never get the pictures they take of me. All sorts of strange people must have my picture in their albums in Scotland, Turkey, Nova Scotia or some other far-off place, and pointing to it and saying, “That’s one of the natives posing with us, strange chap!”

You know how many people take my picture and tell me they’re going to send it for me? I still waiting.

So I decide to buy a camera for myself. By now you must have guessed that I don’t know much about cameras and those sort of things, you know, mechanical things. So I told the man in the shop that I wanted a simple camera, one that I didn’t have to do anything except “point an’ click.”

He told me he had just the thing for me: a “fully automatic with zoom”. The zoom is something to make the picture come up close or go back far. He told me in his most confidential voice: “Any fool could operate this thing, man, everything automatic, all you have to do is point it, press the red button, and picture coming out, film changing, light flashing, everything automatic, no problem. The Shah of Iran had one just like this.”

I didn’t know much about the Shah or whether the camera did him any good, but I said to myself that this sounds like my sort of camera, point an’ click, so I bought it. They gave me a little book with it, so I read up the book, and said to myself: “Is a simple thing in truth, man, any fool could work this thing.”

Well, like I said, if you really want to know how many dotish people there are walking around, buy a simple camera. You see, the thing with buying your own camera is that you can take out everybody’s picture except your own. You always have to stop someone and ask them please to take your camera and take out a picture of you or whoever it is you want to take your picture with.

And that is where, as they say, “de trouble does start.”

You give them the camera and tell them it’s simple, just look through the little hole here, point the camera at you and click the red button. It sounds easy, eh?

Well, boy, if you see how some of those pictures come out. If they don’t cut off your head, they cut off your foot. If they don’t cut off your foot, they cut off the person you standing up with. And if they don’t do that, they take out everything in the background, and you in the front come out like a ghost. I never see anything so yet; you telling them, you explaining to them, and is like they can’t understand “point an’ click.”

I give a girl the camera to take me out the other day. I tell her, “The camera have zoom, just press the grey button and you could zoom in and zoom out.” She only bending left, right and centre, and moving backwards and forwards, saying how she want to get a close-up. I say, “Girl, it have zoom!” Well, is who tell me say that. She take the picture. When it develop, I get a picture of a dustbin in a corner full of garbage and a piece of the left side of my head. I look like a character in Dick Tracy.

Now, the thing about automatic camera is the fact that they are automatic. Which means that if you’re taking a picture, and you press the button, and you keep it down, the camera goes on taking picture whether you ready or not. So every time I give someone the camera, I tell them, “Press and leggo.” But is like they drink coffee, they head hard, they always press and hold down, and is so the camera taking pictures like it mad, it taking all kind of stupidness, and they only turning it upside down trying to figure out what going on and wasting my expensive film. Hear them: “Ah hear somet’ ing going whirrrrrrr ! ” Hear me: “Yes, yu stupid, ah tell yu is automatic! Is my film yu wasting!” Hear dem: “Oh, ah sorry, let’s take a next one to make sure it come out.”

Yu see, I know now there will never be anything like a simple camera, because there are too many simple people walking around this place.

Funding provided by the 11th EDF Regional Private Sector Development Programme Direct Support Grants Programme.
The views expressed on this website are those of the the authors and do not reflect those of the Direct Support Grants Programme.