What will you show your Grandchildren?

I will not hide where I’ll be going in this post. I’ll talk about your photos, be they film or digital, and prints.

My mother has a cupboard with boxes and albums of photos. I assure you, she’s no Vivian Maier but the photos she’s got document the life of our family throughout several generations.

Even better, they go back to the start of last century with a photograph I cherish very much. opi1 1

This is a photograph of my Grandfather… no, not the distinguished gentleman but the cute little guy. This photograph must have been taken around 1920.


That’s 97 years ago! Approaching the century. But there’s more. More recent photographs, taken with a camera I still own. A camera that still works today.

This is my great-grandmother, caught in the early sixties on medium format film with an Agfa Synchro Box. A basic box with one shutter speed and 2 aperture settings. It takes no more to make a lasting souvenir.121012 - Agfa Synchro Box - 4

In the folder with these photos there was one of my Grandfather too, remember the cute little guy from above. He has grown up now, has a kid of his own, my Mother, sitting next to him.

121012 - Agfa Synchro Box - 1
Striped socks were the thing to wear those days I guess!

My grandfather died exactly 40 years ago this year. He was survived by my Grandmother who died last month, aged 96. Here you can see her, eating grapes with my great-grandmother.121012 - Agfa Synchro Box - 3

I think this is one of the best photographs I have seen. A personal opinion perhaps, but I think that a photo that shows life this way, taken with the most basic of cameras deserves the praise.

I showed you these memories to make you think!

Yes, think about your life, your past, your next of kin. Think about your kids and (if you’re as old as me) about your grandkids.

What will you show them ten years from now, twenty? When they ask you “Hey Gramps, show me a photo of mum when she was my age”. I can!

2001-11-17 at 22-52-40
My kids, exactly 16 years ago! On this exact day!

What will you do? Scroll through 20 years of Facebook (supposing Facebook is still alive)? Will you whip out your phone and be able to show the photos? Will you go up to the attic and hunt for the box with your old hard drives, hoping they still work and they can still be read by MacOS XX or Windows 23?

Small chance I guess.

Think! Please!

2000-12-05 at 11-11-54
My youngest son, just about 20 minutes after his birth….

I am guilty too, I have the photos I take with my iPhone always with me, on the phone… for the moment. Some days ago I was shocked to hear that lots of people save their photos on the phone only. ON THE PHONE ONLY! No cloud, no backups! When they change phones they have a problem! They are panicked. What about my photos?

Lots of people lose them, but they accept that for the joy of getting a new phone that takes even better photos. Photographs have sadly become a disposable item, like a lot in our lives.

At least I upload all my iPhone stuff to iCloud (you may choose other similar cloudy things) and up there, they are safe! You think!

Remember MySpace? THE place to be not that long ago. Where is it now? Lost in the clouds?

Where will Facebook be 10 years from now. Sorry Mark Z. because you did a great job convincing the world to entrust you with their lives, their whole lives! People are worried about photographers taking their pictures, but they open up without scruples to the whole world on Facebook. And by the way they accept invading ‘security cameras’, apparently for their own good.

So let’s get back to our photos. Where are they? On hard drives that sooner or later will fail. On Phones that will get lost, stolen or simply changed out. They are on Facebook, on Instagram but for how long? And how will you find them among the billions of posts?

I can be wrong, but in my opinion the only way to save your precious memories is to print them. Or have them printed!

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My Grandmother in 2013

With film it’s the logical way. Either you do it the traditional way in your darkroom or you scan and print at home. Here we are on a level with our digital colleagues. We can have the photos printed at a lab, physical or online. We have lots of possibilities to make photo books.

We can put the books in a cupboard like my mom’s albums. Books we can show our kids and grandkids. Easily!

What prevents us from doing this?


Never have we taken as much photos as today. And we keep them all. No culling, no trimming of the thousands of memories. With film, cost makes that we are very picky about what we shoot. Digital, and above all our phones make us shoot without distinction. Thousands of images we have no time at all to review. Thousands of images we will probably post somewhere and not look at any more. Never!

If at least you shoot RAW you’ll have to work on each photo and will be able to make a choice about what to keep and what to discard.

This is all about preserving your memories, precious memories. And as you have seen there’s no big difference here between film and digital. OK there’s the old rant about negatives being physically there, being a real backup. But I talk about the final thing, the picture I can hold. You don’t have to print everything, just your best memories, your best works.

Again, think about this please. And print.

Thanks for visiting.

20 thoughts on “What will you show your Grandchildren?

Add yours

  1. Prints are great and we all need to do more them, but on the other side I’d like to make one important point to everyone out there.
    A quick background; a few years back, my family had a Great Aunt pass away on my Fathers side. After her passing we discovered boxes full of old family pictures, some even on tinplate, so they are very old around late 1880’s. While my Father knew who some of the people in these pictures, and some prints did have names or dates written on them, there was an awful lot of pictures that did not and so will never be identified, which is such a great shame.
    Now knowing what had happened before, both my Father and I now write notes on the back of every family print or when the image was taken, or add information data to each picture in digital storage or media so later generations will know who’s who.
    If you have an elderly relative in the family, try to encourage them to write on the back of old photo’s relatives names before it’s too late. Tell friends and family to do the same and get them to pass the message on, otherwise there’s a good chance that names to faces will be lost forever.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Frank, this is very timely, just yesterday I uploaded a few of my favourite recent photographs to an online photo company to have physical prints made. They weren’t of family (fortunately my wife regularly prints off batches of our family photos physically and keeps albums – and she loves having a lot of family pictures around the house) but they were the first prints I’ve made/ordered in years, and I’ve never really done many at all in the maybe 10 years I’ve been photographing with intention.

    I’m curious to see how images made with fairly humble digital cameras (sorry, they weren’t film ones!) will look printed at a decent size (I’ve ordered 12×8 inches) and framed.

    This ties in in some ways with what I’ve been finding and feeling with Instagram lately. On Flickr you can see photos full screen, which on my MacBook is a 15 inch diagonal screen. This is a similar size to a 12×8 inch print. My iPad (or rather my wife’s old one) has I think about a 10 inch screen, but on Flickr the interface is still pretty good and you get images full screen whilst browsing, so this is maybe like a 6×8 kind of size. And the automatic re-orientation to fill the screen is great with iPads (and indeed iPhones) with Flickr so it maximises the screen space available when you rotate 90 degrees.

    Instagram I only really use with my iPhone, and the app forces you to view portrait mode. So any landscape orientated images are approximately 2×1.5 in. Some people post some absolutely stunning landscapes and portraits on Instagram, worthy of large prints. But the size of the app on a phone is almost comically small, even though the resolution is good. I find this really frustrating!

    Anyway, I think another major reason people maybe don’t make prints is they’re so used to seeing everything on phone screens. Seeing a good photograph at 12×8 would blow their minds!

    Hope this makes sense!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, right, that would blow their minds. Not used to handling a nice 6×4 or studying a large print any more.

      And I guess even the 6Mp cameras will give a nice 12×8!

      Pixelpeepers not allowed! Anyways, film shows grain and digital shows pixels. So what!

      People today just want perfection. And then view it on their phones… I don’t understand this world any more!


      1. Part if my printing experiment is to see how well the Ricoh 10MP sensors fare when blown up to 12×8.

        Yeh I like the digital “grain” of the Ricohs and usually shoot at ISO400 anyway.

        Thanks for following my line of thinking, it is indeed ironic and more than a bit silly that although we have the most evolved and highest resolution digital sensors ever known, we’re mostly viewing the images on devices with screens no bigger than the screens of the cameras themselves!

        Makes the whole chase for bigger better faster more with digital cameras seem almost entirely redundant doesn’t it!

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh goodness, mine is atrocious! The only thing worse is my spelling! Thankfully I use a Wacom Bamboo Spark and it exports my handwriting to text which I then move directly into WordPress for editing.

        Liked by 1 person

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