Someone’s old photo album at the Rose Bowl Swap meet.
Happy Tuesday everyone. If you’re in L.A. right now, you’re experiencing some of the COLDEST weather we’ve had in a L O N G time! Sure, it’s not that east coast type of “get the chains on the car” type of weather, but for us Angelenos, anything, ANYTHING under 70 degrees is COLD! I’m trying to make sure I type correctly here, what with my cold fingers and all ;p
As my subject title says, “print vs. digital – which one has more worth?”, I ask of you all today, which one would you choose? For instance, if (god forbid) your house were to burn down and you had a chance to save an old printed family album or a hard drive of images, which one would you choose? Sure, some would say, the hard drive, cause they could always print out more photos later, but what about the photos that don’t have a digital negative connected to it? What about all those old film photos your parents/relatives took way back the “instant gratification” machine became so widespread? Would you try and save those?
There’s something so exquisitely magical, let alone tangible, with a printed photo (heck, you can add a handwritten letter to this list as well) that makes it hard not to choose to save them in an extreme situation as a house fire. But think about today, when someone actually takes the time to print something out for you, and then gives it to you, perhaps in a frame, for you to hold, hang, and show off. Pretty cool if you ask me. Nowadays, our society is so “plugged-in” that we get all of our information, whether visual or otherwise through some sort of electronic device. Think about it. When was the last time you sat down and actually WROTE a letter? If you’re like me, you only really put pen to paper when you have to sign a bill or a check, or something of that matter (let alone the degradation of all of our handwriting skills!).
If you are given the chance to look over old photos, or albums printed way back before the age of digital, each page turn of those thick albums with the plastic sticky sleeves protecting the pictures brings about a sense of awe and wonderment. Back then, the ONLY way to share photos was to print them at your local photo place. If you think about it, all the photos from that roll of film were carefully and lovingly placed in an album, perhaps by your mom, or dad, or someone equally special, with the intent of showing them to others when they got the chance. Today, those albums are treasure troves of by-gone eras, and the keeper of those who were once here with us, who have now gone on their way to that big unknown.
Years ago, in 2007, my grandmother’s house sadly burned down in an electrical fire that destroyed 90% of her house. (Click here for link) In the hustle and bustle to save things, surprisingly a plastic container box filled with old family albums were spared. Untouched, un-scorched by the blazing fire, and completely dry from the efforts of the firefighters who saved the rest of the house. The next day, while salvaging what was left of the home, the albums were perhaps the most important items to be saved that day, for within them held the history of my family’s early years in the U.S.A. Had they been lost, all those stories, people, and places would have been left to everyone’s memory, which sadly over time deteriorates and is eventually forgotten. The photo albums however, remain, and the visual histories that they hold help to keep those memories sharp and alive for those who know anything about them.
My point behind this post is that although we mostly view our photos on computers, phones, ipads, etc., every so often, take the time to print some of your most worthwhile ones. Perhaps the photos from last Christmas, or from a birthday, or a family dinner, a vacation, etc. Frame them up, hang them, create an album with one of the many album/book makers on the web, anything, and I do mean ANYTHING to make them tangible and easy to see without the aid of electricity or an electronic device.
Printed photos and albums are our day to day history “books”. As with a handwritten letter or note, when you hold a photo in your hand, there’s something so amazingly magical about it – the faces of the people forever captured in that single moment, the memories that that photo now represents, in your hands.
As technology continues to adapt and develop, there may be a time in the near future where computers or phones, etc. won’t be able to read your JPEG files anymore. Perhaps a new operating system comes along, or a new format takes over that will make it difficult or even impossible to read through old hard drives. But if you print that special photo of you and your loved ones, and put it in an album, or hang it on a wall, the memories will last forever vs. those bits and bytes stored on that cold, electronic device.
Thanks for stopping by everyone. And should you be interested in printing out some photos, one of my favorite sites is www.mpix.com. They do fantastic work – top notch! Go ahead, start sharing your memories!