I read this article in the January 2011 edition of Professional Photographer magazine that I thought was worth sharing. We all have phones and CDs filled with pictures, but what will they be worth some day? Here’s something to think about…
It’s been a long time since I’ve written in you, probably because I’m still looking for the refills for my mechanical pencil. I tried using my typewriter, but typewriter ribbons are extinct (sigh). So I plopped down on the couch, hoping to watch my Dirty Dancing videotape, but my VHS player wouldn’t work, and the geeks at Best Buy laughed at me when I asked them to fix it. My eight-track player isn’t working either, and my bag phone won’t make or receive calls. On top of all that, my kids broke it to me that now nobody writes in a diary they hide in their underwear drawer. Nope, now everyone writes intimate details in Internet blogs for the whole world to read. What’s a girl to do? Yours in retrospect, K.H.’
Even though I completely advocate selling digital image files to customers, I do harbor fears that my customers will never get around to printing them, thereby losing an important piece of personal history…
The degree of importance hit me upside the head while I was speaking to an assembly of high school students on career day. A girl in the second row was viewing images on her phone as I spoke, a rather rude practice that brought out the suppressed teacher in me. I wanted to yank that phone out of her hand and sentence her to detention.
But then I thought, if she no longer had that phone, all her personal photos would be gone, unless, of course, she had posted them on Facebook. But is Facebook the safest place to store images these days? I doubt it.
So I asked this group of future leaders and Social Security providers who among them had printed any of the pictures they’d taken with their phones, or even their digital cameras. One student shyly raised her hand, and the others stared her down as if she’d just admitted to never having sent a text message.
‘You are the lost generation,’ I preached to them. ‘If you choose to store all your photographs on your digital devices, the day will come when you’ll no longer be able to access those files. What will you do then?’ What I said reverberated in my head the rest of the day. Maybe I was selling digital files to irresponsible people, and therefore I was responsible for the erosion of history…those thumb drives, CDs, and external hard drives are destined to go the way of the mechanical pencil, bag phone, eight-track and VHS players, mark my words.”
She’s so right, isn’t she?
Moral of the story: PRINT YOUR PICTURES!
Henderson, Kalen. “Starting over.” Professional Photographer. January 2011.