The Most Photographed Generation Will Have No Pictures in 10 Years!

Cameras.

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.

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303 thoughts on “The Most Photographed Generation Will Have No Pictures in 10 Years!

  1. I really need to get better at printing out pictures. It’s difficult because there are so many it’s hard to choose. I think a yearbook every year would be nice! This is definitely motivating me. Sharing on my facebook page.

    1. I love this article. It is so true!
      Yet I do print.
      Great reminder
      I love the app groovebook for $2.99/mo can print 100
      Images from your cell phone in a bound book. Love it

  2. I really need to get better at printing out my photos! It’s difficult because there are so many to go through. I think it would be nice to do a yearbook every year. Thanks for the motivating. Sharing on my Facebook page.

  3. I think you are way off on this. Those of us that actually care about photos will take care of them no matter the format. I have been taking digital pictures for almost 20 years. 1000s of pictures! I still have them all despite the changes in technology over the last 20 years. I have them all on my hard drive and I have them backed up on a flash drive in a fireproof box. The kids and I look through them all the time! They love looking at their pictures when they were babies. If I find one “wall worthy” I would print it out and put it on the wall. If technology should change (which doesn’t happen overnight) I shall back them up using the new format. Also, when technology changes, there is always overlap. If I happen to have had say 10 photos on a floppy disk somewhere, I can still find one and hook it up to a computer and if something should change in the future, there will always be smart nerd making an adapter for it. If file extensions should change and Jpegs are no longer the font of the chosen, then there will be file converters in abundance! Yup, nerds strike again. 🙂 By the way Jpegs have been around for over 20 years, so you’re 10 year limit is busted again. My printed pictures are in a tote in my closet. The good ones are in albums, but 100s of them are just in the tote getting old and sticking to each other as the photo paper they are printed on decays. Which am I most likely to lose in a fire? Which ones will more likely be around in another 20 years? Yes, my digital pics will be around forever, as long as I take care of them like you care for your printed pictures.

    1. Maybe you are diligent about keeping your digital files up to date and such–good for you! That’s wonderful. Chances are that your children and grandchildren will not be as careful. I have snapshots taken by my great-grandparents in the early 1900s with a Brownie camera–I can look at them mounted in a scrapbook with explanatory captions written in my great-grandmother’s handwriting. I do not need anything that plugs into the wall, I just open the book and I know something about their lives. I do not look at the 100s of slides my father took–they require a projector and they have no stories connected to them–just like your digital media. You are fooling yourself if you think your digital files will be looked at 50 years from now. They won’t.

      1. Kary, you are 100% correct. Andy, have fun tracking down “nerds” and obsolete technology to see your images twenty years down the road. As for me, I’ll be relaxing on the couch with my grandchild in my arms, looking at beautiful prints with no need for any technology. Yes, I back up physically and to the cloud, but there is no substitute for prints.

    2. Andy, you are correct in many of your responses. Nerds somewhere will pull through; but for some people they will not know that conversions have been created and think that there won’t be a certain type of media or a computer that you will be able to read that media on. I have learned the hard way; not only by computer, usb, hard drives and prints. I can guarantee NO MATTER what type of media you keep your pictures on —– PICTURES will be lost….. I have had a hard drive crash on me; I have had an external hard drive that was my back up crash and could not recover, I have had USB flash drive go bad; I have floppy disk with no way of reading those disk. As to the prints – yes there are many pictures stored in boxes, fading and sticking together —But my biggest LOST was the printed pictures in albums, and boxes that was all taken away from me because of Hurricane Katrina. I took as much as I could fit in the car, had them in plastic storage boxes in the attic, had my wedding pictures and some of the other albums in those so called “SpaCE BAGS” that advertised water proof—stacked on top of many other things and covered with plastic tarp — only to come home and find everything ruined. “Space Bags leaked; plastic storage contains took on water also. Ruined, ruin I said; memories gone in a flash. So I decided go techo storage and as I stated lost, hard drive and external back up drive both crashed. Gone, Gone and can’t find any NERD to help. I guess my point is– nothing, absolute nothing is safe to keep those memories for you. Except one thing I found out– and I plan on doing this with the few hundred pictures I have is: 1) scan to disk and back it up-; not once, but twice 2) Laminate pictures. I had a couple pictures that were laminated and they were like brand new. So yes to all, you are not safe no matter what you do; just be careful and have double means of protecting those precious pictures; because once they are gone; it’s like your entire life is gone.

    3. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!! I couldn’t agree more!!! I read this and thought about how ridiculous he was being by saying that technology was going to be outdated so quickly and how people don’t take care of their photographs. I was just telling my husband that if someone cares enough about their photos, they’re GOING to make sure they’re backed up and taken care of well enough to access them at any given moment no matter what device they’re saved on.

  4. Your article gives food for thought. While we are able to keep more photos with digital technology, most don’t keep them organized and accessible. I worked in photography for a decade…in processing,..and back then, people had more reverence for their pictures. Probably because of the expense. But also because people actually took time to look at old photos..in albums, on the walls and so forth. I see fewer prints on people’s walls. They are in the phone or tablets. As someone who still has darkroom equipment and twenty some fat albums….and with a new grandbaby…I look for picture moments. And I don’t know if it’s me…but I can’t stand selfies.

  5. Reblogged this on joie de vivre by M and commented:
    Great read. So sad but true. In a digital world prints are more relevant then ever. Whistling a similar tune? Let’s connect and chat about how joie de vivre by M Photography can keep your memories alive for generations.

  6. Vinyl records were ubiquitous, and are now almost obsolete. The key word being *almost*. Old Uncle Benny’s vinyl collection can still be played, and transferred on to current storage media, if required. Same will be the case for jpeg photos found on CDs and usb sticks in the future.

  7. Thank you for your timely blog. I will spend a weekend in the near future ordering 200 prints of my family life to create an album of our last 8 years together. It is a small investment to preserve these beautiful memories!

  8. A friend just sent me a link to your post. Well said. Interestingly enough, I had posted something similar on my blog last month without having read your post. I hope that as more and more photographers begin to speak out on this subject, people will listen. My teenagers love to look back at the printed images I have put in albums from their childhood. We never look at digital images. It is time we wake up and protect our memories for our kids! Thank you for the insightful post.

  9. Good article making important points. It’s one reason why I have returned to film photography after many years of digital only. It’s true that I have made prints of my favorite digital shots, but only a limited amount. Whereas I feel more confident that an image captured and stored on a negative will last much longer. To be printed either by scan or developed via an enlarger and developing tray either now (as some are) or in future. It’s ironic that a technology abandoned by most as out-of-date offers the most secure future proofing. Ironic but rather sweet.

  10. This article doesn’t even mention the cloud, where most images are stored now. The entire premise of this article is faulty, as most images are stored online, backed up, and available forever.

    1. Respectfully, Joe, even Cloud storage is not “forever”. Since I doubt you remember the dot-com failures of the late 1990’s and also there have been failures of Cloud Storage companies which are recent as well. Take a moment and read this article below.
      http://www.computerweekly.com/opinion/Nirvanix-failure-a-blow-to-the-cloud-storage-model

      Will it happen to another one? Most likely it will, leaving anyone depending on “cloud storage” to also be in the same predicament as non-online storage methods. There is one certainty when it comes to technology- it changes constantly, and “the cloud” is likely to undergo as many or more as it changes.

  11. I see your point and although I am among those that do take care to organize and store my digital photos I just wanted to bring up that print photos are not fool proof either. My mom had many wonderful photos carefully stored in albums and then here house flooded. They are all gone now.

    1. Here is an interesting statistic I recently came across. A computer Hard Drive generally will crash inside of 5 years- most inside of 3. Most USB drives “quit working” after 3 years. DVD’s are generally only good for 5-7 years unless you have the archival gold film discs- that cost in excess of $50 each- some more. A motherboard on a computer will die inside of 5-7 years- usually due to capacitor failure. 6% of all hard drives out there will die this year.

      Flooding accounts for less than 2% of all property loss. Fire less than 3%. Yes, you can lose photographs due to disasters. Your chances of losing them “digitally’ is far greater and will happen to you sooner or later. Fire and floods- a far greater chance you never personally experience one.

  12. I’m sorry…you’re 100 wrong about this. This article is unimaginably ignorant.

    Archiving technology advancing at an incredible rate, and in the next decade we’ll have new archiving options AND they will interface with “older” USB devices, Memory Card readers, and CD/DVD storage. I”ve seen some of the new emerging technologies and you’d be amazed…they will outlast paper printed photos by a million years AND they aren’t corruptible by any EMP event. There’s nothing wrong with paper printed photos….but your advice that THAT is the only way to save your images is simply not true.

    I work in this field and we are currently archiving films and movies from formats that were “obsolete” 70 years ago. I recently had a meeting with the Chief Archivist of the US National Archives and we had a long discussion about the emerging archive technologies. Not only with archiving be on more stable in the future, but every archiving technology is being designed to be backwards compatible with older technology. Your doomsday fears are completely ignorant.

    Speaking of older technologies..you said that there are photos taken on formats that were around 6-7 years ago that aren’t compatible today. Really? NAME ONE!

    As for your floppy discs….a 5 minute google search will reveal 30,000 results on how to retrieve your data.

    Finally… you say that we should all print our photos because in 2025, we might not be able to find that Disc of images from TEN YEARS EARLIER…. but If you can’t find the disk….what makes you think you can find the photos!

    1. Respectfully, Frank, I do appreciate your endeavors to follow along the path of the great Ansel Adams. Perhaps, too, you should also learn a tad more tact from him in his respectful way of addressing people as well. I never saw him call anyone “ignorant” nor “wrong” about anything (and I was fortunate to attend one of his workshops before you even held a camera). However, I guess your access to technology that the consumer often times neither has access to or has the available funds to purchase is partially responsible for your diatribe(s). And also being of the generation where perhaps you never photographed on film is another reason behind your tasteless and classless remarks.

      I stand by the FACT that many of the photographs taken with today’s technology will never be seen once taken, shared, and put on disc or media of any sort. I also stand on the fact that the ARCHIVAL PRINTED IMAGE is far superior technology than any digital format will ever be. Bits and Bytes DO corrupt in spite of the best efforts of anyone or any technology. I have yet to see a printed image “change data” and not be visible to the human eye. I have never seen anyone hold a computer screen to their heart either as they mourn the passing of a loved one. I have with a printed photograph.

      I do wish you the best in what you do and that your safety is always paramount over your images you capture.

      No apology is needed nor expected.

      1. “I have yet to see a printed image “change data” and not be visible to the human eye. ”

        You have never seen a printed image be degraded to the point where it’s lost it’s meaning? Through either water damage, fire or fading?

        I don’t think anyone is saying that digital storage is indestructible (although i sleep fine at night and run a completely digital based business with hundreds of thousands of digital client files), but neither are prints or film archives either.

  13. If people care about their photos, they will last. If you don’t care, paper or digital, your photos will be gone. I have been taking digital pictures for 20 years. They are all here and in much better shape than my “printed” copies.

    Conservation of all media requires effort. Conservation of any type of information requires effort. Think about it, how many of you knows your great grandfather’s name. It is information that would be easy to pass on but it does not happen.

    The advantage I see with digital media is the ability to make backups. Reliable storage is getting extremely cheap. It is simple enough that anybody can do it. NO need for “nerds” like somebody mentioned before. I think it is a bad idea to make decisions about how to preserve your very important documents and photographs based on nostalgia.

    My grandfather was a photographer in the 1910’s and 20’s. He had a great amount of family photos and for different circumstances, most are gone now. My relatives did not care enough and they got lost. Maybe changes in technology will make people invest the time and make photos more likely to survive.

  14. My Friend just posted your blog + I shared it. Thank you so much for making us aware that our precious photos are in danger of being lost.
    I’m so appreciative + will now work on printing + making albums.

  15. I cant handle those selfie things but with the generation, what can you do. Technology evolves, as pointed above, along the way changes will take place. Those cloud storage stuff, if you think about it, mostly we do not pay for it, just like Facebook, as much as you and i believe we own what we upload, Facebook has control over it, any given time they can switch of, so is Google drive. The best we can do is not hide the pictures in albums but have them displayed and enjoy the moments, have them with us most of the time, so to speak

  16. Retire? No thanks. I’ll stick around providing real service to clients who understand that they are purchasing archival prints that will still be around for their grandchildren. And I’ll feel sorry for all those poor folks taken in by the “quick buck” “photographers” who just want to shoot and burn.

  17. This will happen to thousands of people without good photo and data management. If you keep up to date and always backup and move your photos over because going to a system that will not subport that old format you will be fine.

    I used to have floppies, kept everything on a hard drive as well and just kept moving them along. Of course they are all well organized and backuped. However there is still the weekness of me being the only one with access. I need to print out some more photos and or have with sd cards or flash drives with all the photos and lable family photos so everyone knows what they are.

    I do know people with horrible data management, they just dump everything without ornazing it.

    1. Something to consider with digital data. Even by transferring to another or even multiple locations, there is no guarantee that the data will not corrupt during transfer. Something as simple as a power blip or surge can corrupt your data. Even magnetic fields can do the same thing no matter where or what you store data on. In my humble opinion, the only safe way to have photographs that you don’t have to worry about data loss- print them.

  18. It’s so true that it aches my heart. Whenever I go home, I love watching my old childhood pictures but we don’t have our own. We take thousands to pics of my little one and I put an effort to sort out out pictures in proper order and store them in online storage. But then I felt I was not even looking at those amazing pictures as still they were so many.

    So now my next project is to take prints of already sorted out pictures. Obviously I cannot prints hundreds of pictures but printing few is what is needed for good memories.

    As you mentioned, it is an overwhelming task but I think it’s worth it. I set a timeline for myself(like finish uploading all the remaining pics from camera by end of this month). I am happy to add I have achieved my small goal by printing important pictures from 2014. I think it’s a good start!!!

  19. Thought provoking post for sure. I have thousands of photos too….backed up. BUT I’m a scrapbooker, the memory keeper of the family. My heritage photos of loved ones long gone are printed and in photo albums or on my walls. The photos and stories I’ve told about my own life from birth until I became a mother are documented and in albums for my children when I’m gone. I currently photograph and print albums for my grandchildren for every year of their life. They love getting these albums each Christmastime. I’m also working on a backlog of photos of my own children and have a plan in place to continually chop away at this until they too have albums in hand.
    I hear what you’re saying about “down the road” and will photos be important to future generations? I can only hope so, but I’ll be long gone and hopefully the albums I’m making today will be a strong reminder to continue the tradition and they will at least have those to cherish.

  20. Just discovered this article today while googling the title as an oft-heard phrase.

    The point most of the critics seem to miss is that most people do not regularly backup their collection of digital photos, let alone their entire computer. My wife, in the ten years since our daughter was born, has had hard drives on her computers crash twice. If it wasn’t for the fact that all the computers were also on my computer (and I regularly backup), we would have lost all those photos.

    Most people who read this blog are probably familiar with the principles of a 3-2-1 backup, and most of those probably even practice it. But the average person doesn’t.

  21. Most young people today are extremely tech savvy and have most of there photos automatically backed up on the cloud and on sites such as Flickr, Instagram and Facebook. Digital photos will not degrade like paper prints and will look exactly the same 50 years from now. Also unlike old prints sitting for years in shoe boxes with no identifying notes so future generations will actually know who i in a photo theirs will have embedded titles, descriptions and metadata indicting time, date and location.

    1. Imagine the people who used MySpace for all their wedding and family photos 6 years ago!

      Digital files DO deteriorate and often get corrupted. ONE little bit of information changed by some “glitch” on a drive can cause that file to “backup” to the cloud as a corrupt file since it looks for changes in the files to determine if it needs backing up. Sadly, you are very mistaken about people actually doing that. I dare to say that less than 5% do. You are the exception, not the rule if you do.

      And I can show you 100 year old photographs that need no computer, no cloud, and not a bit of special anything to view. And I can tell you exactly who is in them. There are millions of “digital pictures” lost every year just due to hard drive crashes.

      1. Mike you are way off base in this article. The new ways to save and take photos have made them so much more important. I am 66 married and no kids. I have all my photos digitized and photos of my ancestors back to my great great grand parents. All of those notes that are fading on paper I can read. From Facebook I have the instant connection and snippets of family life that I would have never ment before. I am following a cousin as they sail the south Alantic. Another cousins son is an extreme sports person and I get to follow them. Meanwhile through thoughtfull conversation I know more about my extended family than ever before.
        I have photos backed up to every conceivable media I can and constantly update. My screen saver on my IPad is always showing me a new picture of my fantastic family and friends.

        Far better than the tote of picture albums that were stuck in the attic and pulled out once a year when nobody really wanted to see them.

        Thanks for your article.

    2. Bruce Thiel, your comment is actually hilarious. Oh yes, in 50 years, I am sure you’ll be able to read that JPEG. Ha ha ha ha . . . . Additionally, “young people today” are TERRIBLE at backing up their stuff – a simple Google search can tell you that.

  22. Definitely some conflicts of opinion here. Read this article, and got a bit hot under the collar. If he is trying to ‘help’, he is failing. I volunteer at the St. Clair Historical Museum. For the past 14 years I have been scanning and saving digital images from St. Clair’s past. Here are my observations on the subject of photographing pictures today.

    We take 1000’s of pictures, compared to the days of film, when we had to think before taking one shot–one shot, maybe two, that would end up costing us about 75 cents for two prints. (My first camera was a box camera!) We would usually take two pictures, because, goodness, we weren’t sure if that picture would come out–and we wouldn’t know for a week or so.

    Ohhh, the joy of the digital camera! Just keep snapping. Take pictures of funny things, antiques or other items we may want to buy, landscaping ideas, house color ideas. Our kids at school, at the orthodontist, in the hospital. We can take pictures of recipes from the magazines at the dentist office, we can take pics of silly licence plates, or unusual cars. How many crimes have been captured because someone was snapping away?

    I have, and will continue to, unload and store my photographs on my home computer, and in cyber space. I will update, transfer as technology changes. I will also share with friends and family members.

    Back to the museum. Vintage pictures? I love them. I scan them, I fix them, I store them, I retrieve them, I study them. I’m saving them for future generations. For this generation. Some of the photographs that we have at the museum, were not marked. We know they are from St. Clair, but we don’t who they were, or where they were taken. Only the type of photograph tells us the somewhat of the time period. Others have information on the back, which is included with the scan. We are saving these images in the same format as the pictures taken today. When future generations want them, we will have them on file. Virtual, hard drive and originals in fireproof safes. Out of the self stick albums from years ago. Some of these scanned pictures were just borrowed to be scanned, not part of the museum collection. They were returned to the family. In future generations–only one branch of the family will have this photo album. But the images, the digitally saved, stored images will be good as long as we have computers and computer geeks.

    So, if I have any advice, I’d say, keep taking pictures! Print some (not inkjet), scrapbook, have books made for loved ones. Post on Facebook, email. Share on discs. Back up your pics. Organize them, and for goodness sake, please note who is in the picture! Do not label yourself ‘me’ in the pictures, lol.

    1. A recent survey found that 67% of people store their photos on their phone or computer The industry says that 33% will either lose or have their cellphone stolen in the next year. Also, a computer has a hard drive life of 5 years maximum. Cloud services tend to get expensive as you add photos for archiving due to increase in storage over and above the “free” offerings. Additionally, that same survey found out that 70% have no printed photo album and 53% haven’t printed a photo in the past year. So these people are totally at risk of having zero photographers in a few short years. This was a nationwide survey conducted by PPA in the past year. It’s very simple to understand- you “archive” printed images in a digital format. Without a print to archive, there would be no need for you to even be around. Sure, digital CAN be properly archived. The reality is, few do it.

  23. “Soon those jpegs will be a thing of the past due to the fact that compression of the file is what occurs to make them smaller. Some of the newer file types will compress the image without the data loss we have with jpegs. A full resolution jpeg scaled to 8×10 that is print quality compression can be very large- over 6mb- and the newer file types under development are 1/2 that size and with much less loss of data. This is because of the storage and processing time needed to access and/or upload or download these files. When the change occurs, in a few short years, a lot of the jpeg’s will be lost with the technology change.”

    When you say that the JPGs will “be lost” do you mean that we will no longer to be open them, and that Photshop, and all modern OS will suddenly not be able to read the JPG compression format? Since TIFF and JPG were released, there have been many types of file formats, but that didn’t mean that the older formats were non supported any more. Adding newer file fomrats does not negate the older ones, and it’s extremely unlikely that any modern OS or editing app will drop the ability to read JPG images any time.

    1. So when was the last time you played your 8-track tapes? Or how about your vinyl records? Or even much later technology as a DVD?
      Technology changes in the digital world as does file formats. And you say it will always be supported? Well, Kodak basically “invented” the first digital cameras and their original file format is no longer supported. And in 10 years you can bet that several other file formats will be giving way to newer, faster and less bulky files for images. And as they do, the old formats we see today will also be obsolete.Back when “digital imaging” first started, GIF’s were the rage. Rarely do you see them today as they have been replaced with other more efficient file formats like IPS, etc.
      But the simple fact is, time WILL tell if I am correct or not. I’m not a betting kind of guy, but I WILL bet that you find that the lowly jpeg isn’t around in 10 years and the number of images saved in that format WILL be obsolete as well.

  24. Just a note: USB drives are not really proven backup solution (aka: there’s no data!), maybe in 5 – 10 years time.
    HDD are ok, but will age regardless whether it’s used or not (although differently). Not sure about SSD.
    Cloud is a bit young and adolescent – with potential.
    Just to point you in the right direction for more googling 🙂

  25. Partial truths, certainly, however I overall disagree. Some of us do still print photos, even if we leave most in digital form. Photos left in digital form are not nothing, though; we have mores access to viewing more and sharing more photos with more people these days since we can do so by email, from our phones, etc… we have digital photo frames, online albums, social media repositories. In some ways yes there’s a ton of junk and some perhaps not treasured the way old photos were, however I expect that out of the thousands of photos most of us still have the handful (just like in previous generations) that mean so much to one/few people and always will. All that being said, i personally have many of our old printed photos, kept safely and I will always keep them safe. Some in frames, some canvas, etc. In all cases, given their composition, if they are not scanned or originally digital, then they are unique and fragile and subject to damage and loss. I love old print, however I’m grateful for digital and look forward to future better technologies and forms to capture and keep moments, memories, moods precious to us. The people only constantly taking photos and not treasuring them–I can’t do much about them; those people exist in many forms and always will no matter what technologies are or not available to them.

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