Today there is a new accessibility to photography. Even the dumbest cell phone can take some kind of photo. Which is great because so many more family moments are getting captured. Unfortunately in this digital age very few of these snapshots are getting saved in a means that will likely survive time. Before the digital age the only way to know what you took was to have your film processed. For most of John Q Public that also included printing your photos.
I have boxes of photos taken before the digital age. There are many that my husband and I have taken. My mother had tons of photos she took and she has gone through them as well, labeling them, and sharing them with the kids. Before that grandparents had photos they saved and passed on. By the very act of printing photos they were preserved. Someone has to look at them and consciously pitch them in the trash. It increases the odds they will survive.
In this age of digital photography we tend to share photos by asking people to look at the back of our phones. That for most photographers is as far as it goes. If you are a little higher up on preservation, you are moving photos from your phone or camera to a computer. Being a tech-weenie I can not tell you how many times folks have called me and said I lost my pictures or music. Most folks never back things up, so history is lost in many cases. In a perfect world that stuff on your computer gets backed up to a local external hard drive and some cloud based place.
Even if you are preserving your digital photos on the cloud odds are when you are gone no one is going to look through them determining what to save and keep. Odds are when you are gone so is your digital photo history and the significance of them.
Five years ago a social acquaintance at a mutual friends birthday party showed me the answer to preserving memories. Print your digital photos and share them. This acquaintance was there with her digital camera recording the friend’s party. Two weeks later in the mail I got a snapshot of my husband and I walking hand in hand she had taken, with a post-it on it that said “We don’t often get pictures take by others. Enjoy!” This picture still sits on our bedroom dresser, it was a great moment she caught, because we seldom are folks who PDA even as simple as hand holding. It is a rare moment saved.
I can’t tell you how many times at gatherings someone has asked to take our picture. We are dressed up and think yeah this would be a good photo and yet we never see it. We have all been there. Today many photos are shared on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Flickr and other online social media. It is there for the day and then as more stuff comes in it is lost in the shuffle. I recently saw a family snapshot taken by a waitress in a restaurant of friend’s family. It was an amazing photo of the whole family. Hope they print a couple and share all of them together smiling deserves to be looked at a year from now.
How can you do this print and share? I suggest: If you have a color printer it may be as simple as that. I personally like sending them to a local pharmacy or discount store and having them printed “traditional.” Whatever works best for you. Bring a smile to some one’s face. Be an unexpected bright spot. Be the only thing in the mailbox besides bills. Who knows someone might pay it forward and you will receive the same? Preserve and share some memories this holiday season as you gather with family and friends.