They’re everywhere. In your phone, on your tablet, you have your point-n-shoot, and maybe even a DSLR. A few might even own a film camera. You can’t escape the selfies, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. People are deluged with photographs. And today, people are taking more pictures than ever before. It’s been estimated that in the past 5 years, more photos have been taken than all the prior years combined.
The sad part is that few of these photographs will survive beyond a year. To many people, a “picture” is only good for the moment. Moms and Dads want to snap every little movement of that new baby. Grandma wants to see everyone one of those too. When you want to show off the new puppy, you pull out the phone. And in a week, none of them have any real meaning and might even get “deleted” just to make room for more pictures that have little meaning as well inside of a couple of weeks.
So what will become of all the pictures that are being taken today? Here is the reason that 99% of the photographs being taken today are soon going to be totally gone – digital images are no longer important enough to most people to actually keep them in printed form!
Yes, I started in a film only world. We bought a roll of film and took our vacation photographs. We had them developed and printed. They were put in photo albums or photo boxes. We looked at them and cherished those memories with great care. They were a slice of our life and for many, if disaster struck, those photographs were the one thing we would try to find first. Wedding albums and photographs represented our LIFE and we salvaged all we could.
It is estimated and less that 1 out of 100,000 photographs taken today actually ends up being a printed photograph. The digital world means you can look at those on some computer screen and without one, you have nothing. You probably have countless pictures that are just randomly stored and has no organization or way to locate them. Perhaps you have made some effort, but even that can seem overwhelming a task when you decide to tackle the task.
Add to this, over the years, the technology has changed so fast, that many photographs taken 6-7 years ago are stored on a type of media that is no longer supported. I have boxes of floppy discs and not even a computer that works to view them. In 5 years or less, your DVD is going to be obsolete as will your USB drives. File types are going to change as well. And the technology of tomorrow may not support these “older” file types.
Many today have older cell phones with countless pictures on them. Maybe you “shared” some on Facebook or Instagram or uploaded to your photo storage website. But none of these are “permanent” solutions to viewing your photos and sadly, many of your memories you captured today, aren’t going to be around tomorrow. So where is that old cellphone today? In a drawer someplace, your not sure where, but you know it’s around here somewhere!
There are also countless memory cards filled with photographs. Each of those represent a small slice of you or something that was a part of your life. Some are older and you have fewer options to view them as technology simply outpaces their usefulness. Does anyone remember the 256mb SD cards when today, a 4 gb is considered tiny?
Perhaps you go to a Professional Photographer and all you want is someone to “take some pictures and give us the disc”. After all, it IS a “digital world” and it shouldn’t cost you very much. You can “take them down to the 1 hr place” and get prints really cheap. No film. No prints from the lab needed to “see” them. So where are your discs today? Probably in that same drawer you haven’t found yet where that old cell phone is “lost” in. I doubt you have your DVD’s or old floppies on your wall! And when Mom asks if you have that adorable photo of your now 16 year old son or daughter- you know the one when they were 2- and you have to answer, I do, but I have to find it. “It’s on a disk…someplace…I think….maybe we still do…honey, where did we put that disk again?”.
In my home, you will find photographs. Real, honest to goodness prints. Nothing fancy in most cases and most are just plain snapshots of family at holidays, on vacation, or doing something silly or even important. These are the slices of our lives where we can open the old “self sticking” album and find out it no longer sticks. Where memories of our life unfolds before our eyes. We laugh. We cry. We tease each other. Our life is right there. It’s in that printed image that anyone can see. There is no wondering “if this file type is still supported” or does my “machine still have a DVD drive”. None of that is needed. Even the older, not quite as sharp as they used to be eyes can see them and feel the emotions of that instant in time as if it happened yesterday. These are the things we protect with everything we have should some disaster strike and the ones we start looking for first if it does. All of a sudden that $250 DeLonghi Coffee maker isn’t all that important. Nor is the fishing boat. Or the 72″ big screen TV with all the bells and whistles. It’s always the memories of our lives that become the thing we search for first.
So if you are part of this “digital revolution”, let me ask you- where are YOUR photographs? Stuck on some disc or stored out there is cyberspace someplace, hopefully, perhaps? Why didn’t you actually purchase that $500 canvas to display in your home that your Professional photographer worked so hard to produce for you? That was a “one of a kind” work of ART and an heirloom piece for your family to have and remember that little slice of their life. It is something that will be passed from generation to generation and the only visual way your heirs will see what you looked like and the love and emotions you expressed the instant that image was captured.
2025. You just found that DVD you had in that drawer you couldn’t remember which one it was. Along with 9 old cell phones that no longer will work with today’s new technology. Your 3 inch by 3 inch cube computer no longer has a DVD drive since in 2015 they were totally phased out. Your 3rd grandchild is sitting on your knee and asks to see pictures of their Mom- and all you have to show them is this piece of round plastic that is pretty much worthless. Not to mention dusty and scratched from all those old cellphones moving around every time you opened that drawer. And since Instagram had been merged with another company, and they started charging, you let that go 8 years ago.
I guess that makes you one of the “most photographed generation that doesn’t have a photograph in 10 years”. I guess it wasn’t that important then. Digital was cheap. Cameras were everywhere. It just didn’t seem that important.
Lost memories are expensive.