I don’t always print my photos all that often, but this morning I printed out a few photos from my shoot with Geneva last week, even a couple from a shoot I did a while back with Elsa. I was really happy with the way the prints came out and it inspired this post…
With everything being focused on an online world, digital images far outnumber physical prints being produced these days. For many images, once they reach your Facebook page or your iPhone, that’s the end of their journey. I heard photographer, Ryan Muirhead say something to the effect of (paraphrasing) the iPhone is where photos go to die. Kind of a sad thought.
The Shoebox of Photos
Many of us remember our parent’s or grandparent’s generation, in which families would have shoeboxes or albums full of family photos, vacation shots and other visual documentation of our lives. Those visual reminders are priceless; irreplaceable.
My family had those shoeboxes and photo albums in our home when I was a kid. Although my dad spent time as a professional photographer it was really my Mom that was the prolific family photographer, taking so many photos of the kids, family events and other great memories. The cool thing is that we’ve still got all those photos that we can look at, go through and reminisce. Digital files don’t always share that kind of longevity.
The Life and Death of Digital Files
While having our photos in digital form is very convenient and wonderful in so many ways, it might not be the best way to ensure the longevity of your pictures. Hard Drives all have a lifespan. It’s not a matter of if a hard drive will crash, but when. This might mean you could lose any and all photos you have stored digitally (if you don’t have at least a couple additional methods of backup).
And even if you do manage to retain your files and keep them backed up over the years, technology changes faster now more than ever before, and this will just increase as time goes on. Will your JPEG files (your photos) even be a viable format in the future? Will you be able to find a device that can read that file format in 10 or 15 years? If you have a printed photo that’s not an issue.
Nothing is Bulletproof
You could experience something like a flood or a fire that could destroy printed photographs, but then again that same kind of natural catastrophe could also claim your digital files as well.
Anyway, I’m not here to say you should abandon digital images for printed photos, but just wanted to give you something to think about. With all the digital images you share online and on your devices, maybe you could have a few printed from time to time.
In a time where we usually see most images on a screen, there’s something special about being able to pickup and hold your photo in your hand to look at it. Something kind of cool about that.