I read this article from Design Aglow the other day and it really struck a chord with me because I’ve been ridiculously concerned with all our photos being strictly digital recently. I’m losing sleep over it – I’m not kidding. It’s consuming me. I have thousands of personal photos sitting on hard drives. My daughter’s first two years of her life are on an entirely different computer that’s in a box in my office along with four other obsolete computers and a corrupted hard drive that contain the images of my life before her. What good is that?
“Darling, when we’re gone, I want you to have all of our photos to remember us by – here’s some outdated technology that contains all the images of your life. Remember how I needed to document every minute of our lives on my phone and my camera? They’re in those little boxes called “hard drives.” You’re going to have to figure out how you can see them.” Imagine if our parents handed us a box of floppy disks with all our photos on them! What would we do?
I do print my pictures, but not enough.
Not NEARLY enough.
My kids absolutely love seeing the prints we have of our family hung around the house. My daughter actually tapes pictures of her favorite people up next to her bed so she can see them right before she goes to bed. I hear her talk about who they are to her stuffed animals at night. She has special pictures of herself up there, too, and she has me talk about when I took them and what we were doing. It speaks volumes about the impact printed photos can have on children.
I have a good friend who said to me the other day, “DVDs are great, but they look lousy hanging on a wall.” Then I read something else that talked about what we are going to hand down to our children when everything is digital. “In 50 years, the most photographed generation in history will have no pictures.” Wow. Talk about putting it in perspective. If the disk gets corrupted, broken, or lost, there will be no evidence for the child that those memories were captured – that they were even there – and when they’re too little to remember, the photos will be all they have. Phones get dropped in toilets, memory cards and hard drives get corrupted, USB drives go missing (seriously, where are all my USB drives?!). All my clients receive their photos on a disk and its packaged really beautifully with a little gift with a print inside. I love putting together each package and I’m incredibly proud of them. And the messages I get when my clients’ disks arrive in the mail makes me feel like I’m getting a big hug through my phone. But when the packaging has been thrown away and the disk has been viewed, what’s left if the photos aren’t printed? A cute and expensive round piece of plastic with a hole in the center.
I know lots of my wonderful clients are printing their photos. They value photography, art, and preserving memories. I’m incredibly guilty of leaving photos on drives to never be seen again. And I’m done with that. I’m going to get those pictures where I can see them. Where my kids can see them. I’m going to put them in printed books, albums, and on my walls. I need to remember that my dad photographed everything and my childhood is largely documented in boxes and albums of film prints. Every so often, he brings me one of those albums and I spend hours pouring over the photos – remembering.
I feel like we owe it to our kids to have something tangible to hand to them – to show them that they are important enough that we paid the money to get that picture off the disk (phone/hard drive/cloud), printed on material that will still be around when we’re gone, and that those memories were worth it. Every time we pick up our camera or our photo to take a picture, we take ourselves out of the activity to observe it, to document it. We say to ourselves that the moment we are in is so wonderful that we leave it temporarily so we can photograph it, but then how do we show it was important? We need to say that capturing these moments of our family is significant enough to print them big and put them up for everyone to see, or put in a book so that we can look through it for years and remember that time. I want my children to know that I’m so proud of them that I want their images all over my home so I can see them everywhere I look.
And it’s not just children, we are all important enough and deserve that.