Let’s start off this conversation with a simple question. Will your children have photographs to remember their childhood? Will you have those baby photos in 10 years?
The truth of the matter is digital technology advancements continues to change the photography industry, but that does not mean that the these new tools and resources have somehow replaced the talent and technique involved in creating physical prints. Nor has it eliminated the importance of printing your portraits.
Cameras. They are everywhere. Am I right?
Between your phone, the tablet, your point-and-shoot camera or the DSLR you got for Christmas last year, cameras are definitely not in short supply. Between all the social media platforms, we are inundated with photographic memories on the daily.
Cell phone shot from the family reunion? Check!
Bob’s latest headshot image? Check!
and the list just keeps going and going and going.
And today, people are taking more pictures than ever before. It’s been estimated that in the past 5 years, more photos have been taken than all the prior years combined. According to Rise Above Research, approximately 1.4 trillion photos will be taken in 2021. Now that’s a lot of photos!
But what happens to those 1.4 trillion photos?
Here is the reason that 99% of the photographs being taken today are soon going to be totally gone – digital images are no longer important enough to most people to actually keep them in printed form!
Statistics actually show that of those 1.4 trillion photos expected to be taken by the end of the year, less than 1% will actually survive in any format. They get deleted. Misplaced. Forgotten about.
Let’s break it down some more… of the approximately 14 million photos that survive the initial purge of images, it is estimated than less than 1 out of 100,000 of those photographs will actually end up in printed form and be passed on to future generations.
That means that less than 140 of that original 1.4 trillion photos will actually survive!
Add to this, over the years, the technology has changed so fast, that many photographs taken 6-7 years ago are stored on a type of media that is no longer supported. I have boxes of floppy discs and not even a computer that works to view them. In 5 years or less, your DVD is going to be obsolete as will your USB drives. File types are going to change as well. And the technology of tomorrow may not support these “older” file types.
Perhaps you go to a Professional Photographer and all you want is someone to “take some pictures and give us the disc”. (I hear this request ALL the time.) After all, it IS a “digital world” and it shouldn’t cost you very much. You can “take them down to the 1hr place” and get prints really cheap. No film. No prints from the lab needed to “see” them.
So where are your discs today? Probably in that same drawer you haven’t found yet where that old cell phone is “lost”. I doubt you have your DVD’s or old floppies on your wall! And when Mom asks if you have that adorable photo of your now 16 year old son or daughter – you know the one when they were 2 – and you have to answer, I do, but I have to find it. “It’s on a disk…someplace…I think….maybe we still do…honey, where did we put that disk again?”.
What will you find in my home?
In my home, you will find photographs. Real, honest to goodness prints. Some are fancier than others… like the gorgeous canvas gallery wrap from my wedding hanging on the bedroom wall. Some are a whole lot less fancy like the holiday snapshots of the kids at Christmas, that family trip we took, or the kids splashing around in the swimming pool this summer.
These are the slices of our lives where we can open the old “self sticking” album and find out it no longer sticks. Where memories of our life unfolds before our eyes like a storybook adventure we are reliving all over again.
We laugh. We cry. We tease each other. Our life is right there. It’s in that printed image that anyone can see.
There is no wondering “if this file type is still supported” or does my “machine still have a DVD drive”. It’s not even a concern. Even the older, not quite as sharp as they used to be eyes can see them and feel the emotions of that instant in time as if it happened yesterday.
These are the things we protect with everything we have should some disaster strike and the ones we start looking for first if it does. All of a sudden that $1200 gown for the next big charity event isn’t all that important. Nor is the motorcycle I begged my husband not to buy. Or the 72″ big screen smart TV with all the bells and whistles. It’s always the memories of our lives that become the thing we search for first.
Let me ask you one question – where are YOUR photographs?
Are they stuck on some old disc/thumb drive? Or maybe they are stored out there is cyberspace… someplace, hopefully, perhaps?
Why didn’t you actually purchase that $600 canvas to display in your home that your Professional Photographer worked so hard to produce for you? That was a “one of a kind” work of ART and an heirloom piece for your family to have and remember that little slice of their life. It is something that will be passed from generation to generation and the only visual way your heirs will see what you looked like and the love and emotions you expressed the instant that image was captured.
What happens next?
Now imagine… It’s 2031.
You just found that thumb drive you had in that drawer you couldn’t remember which one it was. Along with 9 old cell phones that no longer work with today’s new technology. Your state of the art 3 inch by 3 inch cube computer no longer has a thumb drive plug since back in 2023 they were totally phased out for the next big thing.
Your 3rd grandchild is sitting on your knee and asks to see pictures of their Mom – and all you have to show them is this metal stick that is pretty much worthless. Not to mention dusty and banged up from all those old cellphones moving around every time you opened that drawer. And since Instagram had been merged with another company, and they started charging, you let that go 8 years ago.
What does all that mean?
I guess that makes you one of the “most photographed generations” that doesn’t have a single photograph from the last 10 years. I guess it wasn’t that important then. Digital was cheaper. Cameras were everywhere. It just didn’t seem that important.
Lost memories are expensive. Are you willing to risk it?