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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.