Call it generational bias. Blame it on the way history is taught in school (with one exception, in my case). The world before 1960 seems black and white. I hear it in the stories older generations tell.
It’s not, of course. The world isn’t just filled with gray, it’s filled with all the colors of the spectrum.
I’ve been fooling around with a birthday gift the last few days: a film scanner I’ve been lusting over to scan my grandfather’s slides (as in photography). I never thought color film was available on the consumer market until much later, but hidden in the stuff scavenged from my grandmother’s things was a box of one hundred color slides… taken between 1942 and 1944.
Seeing baby pictures of my mother, my grandmother, my great-grandparents, and half a dozen aunts and uncles (with a few greats to go around) in color has been a thrill.
I know, I’m easily duped, but pictures are a powerful medium. Seeing so many old pictures in black, white, sepia, and the silvery highlights of the really old ones contributed to my bias… my feelings that modern society tended to be morally superior.
Considering where we are, isn’t that sad?
I’d never admit it to you, but I think it’s always been there, looking down my nose with contempt on “the good old days.”
These pictures reminded me we’ve been seeing more than black and white for a long time. The capacity for critical thought goes back beyond the 1960s.
Even our ancestors had rods and cones.
My grandmother Conner holds my three week old mother in the Fall of 1942
*If you’re out there Christy, I don’t want to hear about photosensitive ganglion cells.