Alison Lapczuk Photography
Future Proof Your Memories
Is technology helping or hurting the preservation of our family memories?
Look at the floppy disk. In the 1990's this was touted as the way of the future: the best and easiest way to share your family's memories.
Two short decades later, many people would not even know what this disk was, much less have the equipment to use it!
Next came CD's and DVD's.
I’m gonna bet that you have CDs and DVDs around (check your junk drawer).
Does your current computer still have a DVD drive?
I'll wait here, while you put your phone down and go look...
Or, are these familiar items already becoming irrelevant and obsolete.
My old laptop (circa 2011) has a DVD drive.
My next purchased computer (5 years later in 2016) does not.
Hmmmm… So, when my old laptop dies... what the heck am I supposed to do with my DVDs and CDs of images?
Today we use USB sticks, right?
But are USB sticks any more future proof than a floppy disk?
Will today's USB stick be the floppy disk of 2035? Unrecognizable and virtually unusable?
What was the first cell phone your owned? (It's probably in that same junk drawer as the CDs, if you want to go check).
Did it have a camera that you took pictures with?
Did you back up all of those pictures from your cell phone before it died?
Do you still have the cord that transfers the data from that phone to your computer?
Does your current computer have a socket that fits this cord?
Is your blood pressure going up?
Don't get me wrong. I LOVE that I always have a camera on me (hello beloved smartphone!).
But my ability to take thousands of photographs and videos on a daily basis has created a mountain of virtual files that may just live and die in virtual oblivion, never to be seen again.
I am not naive enough to believe that Facebook can or will backup my life for me or for my kids.
Facebook may not even exist in 10 years.
Social platforms are great for sharing pictures with friends and family. Pictures they can consume, comment on and scroll past. Viewers CONSUME this content - that is why it's called a FEED.
The problem with digital is that we think we have something, but we don’t.
Try to give your child a DVD disk and ask them what you've given them, what do they see?
Duh. A silver disk with a hole in the middle. Because without the means to extract the pictures, what else is it, really?
If you’re interested in pain and frustration, try to go back JUST 10 YEARS in your own digital photographs (I recently did this). First you will probably spend hours and days and STILL not find 2007-2009 photos anywhere, even though you DAMNED WELL KNOW that you took pictures and must have stored them somewhere, right? You will also find that some digital files need to be converted – one-by-one, mind you – to a more updated format (ie: bmp to jpeg). You will gather up film scans, DVDs, CDs, USB sticks, and multiple external hard drives.
You will then reconsider the whole project while eating a tub of ice cream.
After pulling yourself together, you will gather the various media and the various means to read these media and you will begin organizing these files. You will start sorting through the years, looking for the good ones and notice that with each passing year, there are more and more photographs and yet there are STILL ONLY 24 HOURS IN A DAY, and you have a life to get back to!
Now imagine your kids in 10, 20, 30 years from now, trying to access your family's digital memories.
Liken it to your parents leaving your family pictures on undeveloped film.
Only, instead of being a few dozen rolls of 24 images each, it will measure into tens of thousands of digital images on various devices that have long since been replaced by newer technology.
They will need digital archaeologists to mine through your mountain of virtual memories! Facebook will be a footnote in history.
It will be a huge task for your kids to see all these digital files, if they have the time or energy to take it on. Plus, why should they, when their own parents didn't bother?
As our society tries to go paperless and create clean, minimal & modern spaces, we are simultaneously creating a mountain of digital files that would make a home on the cable show 'Hoarders' look like a pretty nice place.
Technology is changing so fast that we can’t easily keep our photographs in an up-to-date format that is curated and future proof. And we haven’t even mentioned digital file corruption.
The problem is that, somewhere around the advent of mainstream digital cameras, we started taking more pictures and stopped printing almost entirely.
We forgot that disks and drives were really intended as storage and transport devices, NOT as a means of presentation. That is where the PRINT is KING.
Printing your pictures means:
You get to enjoy them today! Leafing through an album or looking up to see a beautiful print on your wall.
Your kids get to feel the love that inevitably follows seeing themselves in photographs that their parents took the time to print.
You get to curate the memories.
Your kids can walk to the shelf and effortlessly look into their past.
You will leave a tangible legacy.
It is EASIER to look at an old album than it is to look at old technology.
Curate and print your photographs on a regular basis. Your future self will thank you!
Two things I want you to do:
1) Pick 10 pictures per month and just print them. Don’t overthink it, just do it. Make it easy on yourself, get a box or album and just keep adding to it. Over time, your minimal efforts will pay off into tangible memories that your family will thank you for.
2) When you want family photos done, PLEASE hire a professional photographer who can complete the work by providing you with archival, stunning, professional products that will outlive us all. Professional photographers take the time to really understand printing. They have done extensive research and partnered with the best professional labs so that they can proudly provide incredible products that you will cherish for decades.
Not a future project that you will never get to.
Not a piece of plastic or metal that will gather dust in your junk drawer.
Purchase something that is real, that physically stands on the shelf, hangs on the wall, that can be touched with your hands and seen with your eyes.
Hands and eyes are two pieces of technology that will still exist tomorrow.
As a professional photographer, I am passionate about the art form of image making, complete to the finished print. That's why I am part of the PRINT MOVEMENT and provide my clients with gorgeous albums and wall art that will outlive us all and be there for future generations to enjoy.
Yours in the future, not in the pasture,