Celebrate National Photography Month, print your memories.
I read somewhere that, 100 years from now, the most photographed generation will not have any printed pictures. While that it is a sobering thought, I guess it does not surprise me, especially when I think about where a majority of my pictures (mostly ones of my three boys) are stored: on my computer, CDs, thumbdrives, phone and the cloud.
It feels like pictures have lost their value. We post them on social media to see how many “likes” we get, or Snapchat them just to watch them disappear after a while. (And, yes, I know they still exist somewhere, but that’s another story for another time.)
The point is, pictures have become disposable, and not treasured like they once were. I remember when I was a child, my mom would take rolls of film to the Fotomat drive-through kiosk in the middle of the local shopping center’s parking lot. We would drop off the film, and anxiously await the return of our latest holiday or vacation pictures. When we picked them up, often we would sit in the car and thumb through the prints, not able to wait until we got home. Then, the pictures were carefully placed in the family photo albums to be shared with friends and family.
Today, we scroll through our phone’s camera roll the minute we take pictures, deleting the unflattering ones (my favorite feature of today’s photography technology) and saving the best for Instagram. Don’t get me wrong, I love the immediate gratification of my phone’s camera as much as the next person. However, recently I have felt a strong pull to gather, organize and print my family’s pictures.
As a former scrapbooker and Creative Memories consultant, I decided to return to my roots, but who has time for cutting and gluing, and stickers and embellishments? I figured, since the majority of my pictures are on my phone, there must be a way to scrapbook on my phone.
There is, and there’s an app for that. It’s called Project Life, and it has given me a new way to scrapbook, print and preserve my photos. I can add journaling to my pages (often done through voice to text on my phone) and, if I am feeling particularly creative, I can drop in color coordinated blocks and graphics. Once my pages are complete, I can print them through the free app as a photo book, or individual pages (sized at 12 x 12, 10 x 10 or 8 x 8) that can be slipped into page protectors inside a scrapbook album.
Organizing my digital photos has been more challenging. I’m working to get them in one place (computer or external hard drive), and then saved to a cloud service. I use Google Photos and Amazon Prime Photos as my cloud storage services, giving me a double backup, in case one fails or is unavailable. Also, I have my phone set up to sync with both, so pictures taken with my phone automatically are saved to both places. I may be somewhat fanatical about my saving procedures, but one time I had a computer crash, and I lost about three years of family photos.
That’s my take on printing and preserving photographic memories, but don’t take my word for it. In honor of National Photography Month, I asked some of our magazine’s professional photographers what they had to say on the subject.
By Jackie Loudin, managing editor for TowneLaker, Around Woodstock and Around Canton magazines. firstname.lastname@example.org
“The solution is simple: Print your images.”
“It’s true. This is the most photographed generation, and there will be nothing to show for a large majority of it 50 years from now. We are constantly snapping photos with our cellphones, and storing them in the ether or a digital medium that will be obsolete a few years from now. Remember the 3.5 inch floppy? We entrust Apple, Google and Facebook to secure our memories for generations to come. I am sure they will be ever vigilant like Tom Anderson, founder of MySpace. MySpace?
The solution is simple: Print your images. When at a family event, take one or two photos and put the phone away. Enjoy being there in the moment. Print those photos and place them in a shoe box. Create a time capsule for future generations. You would be amazed at the memories flooding back from, not only seeing grandma when she was 15, but realizing she held the same photo at one time.
I have a large canvas of Tabitha in my workspace at home. It warms me every time I walk past. Something it could not do stuffed in a kitchen drawer, on a CD or USB.”
Jerry King, J King Images
“Pictures were meant to hang on the wall.”
“In today’s digital world, people are so wrapped up in posting their pictures for others to see, that they forget to see themselves. What I mean by that is, pictures were meant to be hung on the wall.
“In my business, I have started giving away prints with sessions, so I can be assured my clients are hanging something on the wall. People tend to forget they are going to, at some point in their lives, lose a loved one.
“For me, I have lost my brother and my dad. Some of my most cherished time I spend is looking at the pictures on my wall. It is something I see everyday on my way to get my coffee. Having these memories of us as kids, or pictures of my dad and I, are so special, I would hate to think that if they were taken in today’s shoot and burn world, I would not have them. Print your pictures, hang them on the wall, and someday, when you are old, they will bring you comfort and happiness.”
Darleen Prem, Darleen Prem Photography
“To hold pictures in our hands is so important.”
“I have lots of reasons why I think it’s important to print your pictures, but I’ll only mention three. First of all, my grandpa passed away on March 27 this year. Having his picture in view doesn’t make me miss him less, but it keeps him on my mind and reminds me of the love we shared.
Second, I keep pictures of my kids and husband near my desk to help me keep perspective about why I do what I do, and they also remind me to lay my work aside and be with them.
Last, every year at the Gregg family reunion in Alabama, we can count on one thing: cousin Johnny is going to bring out the treasure box, a.k.a. the old family photos. I love the handwritten notes on the back describing who is in the picture, where they were, and when the picture was taken.
Writing these things down, on the back of the picture itself or in a scrapbook, helps us and our descendants remember these people and to connect with them long after the details have been forgotten or people aren’t around to explain them. Being able to sit down and actually hold these pictures in our hands is so important to passing down our personal history.”
Rebekah Gregg, Rebekah Gregg Photography