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During Star Trek: The Next Generation, Captain Jean-Luc Picard receives some horrible news during a teambuilding activity — his brother and his nephew have died in a tragic accident. He refuses to tell his crew (and therefore the audience) for some time, until Deanna finds him sitting alone in the dark, pouring over a scrapbook.
It initially seems like a very simple thing, this scrapbook. It’s clearly a fancy scrapbook, all leather bound with what appears to be a very good paper stock, with cleanly laid out photos of Picard’s family. And in 1994, I might have left it at that.
However, Star Trek: The Next Generation is a setting where holodecks are such popular and universal entertainment that nobody bats an eye at the crew of the flagship showing up to work in their LARPing clothes (which everyone looks great in, btw) or the holodeck trying to kill them every once in a while. Heck, Geordi fell in love with a hologram one time! Presumably, photo technology has evolved in kind. I’m sure Space Skymall has at least one of those digital photo frames, if not some new photo enjoying technology that would melt my brain to even conceive of.
So, obviously, this particular scrapbook is a deliberate aesthetic choice by one of our most aesthetically thoughtful captains in all of Star Trek. Just as we delight in Fujifilm’s instax cameras’ retro functionality, so too did Picard in all the delights of the modern space equivalent of Walgreens’ Photo Center. Just imagine Picard ordering this scrapbook and the holographic tape he’s used to outline each and every photo off of Space MochiThings. I feel so stationarially soothed just thinking of it.
No wonder he goes back for it in the wreckage. I mean, on top of it being a memento of his dead family, but y’know, also that aesthetic.