The Family Photo Album ~ a thing of the past?
With the arrival of our first child, I've found myself thinking about fond memories from my past, things I did when I was younger and the sort of memories I want to help our little one create for himself. I've realized that some of the best memories that I have include my mum sitting down with me and an old photo album, telling me stories, (some old...some new and others I could recite word-for-word), but they all had one thing in common...they always kept me entranced.
I want my son to have the same experiences, the same fond memories I have...but I've realized it's unlikely to happen as I very seldom print out photos. Our collection is ever growing on the computer (external hard drives are stacking up), however, I can count on my hands the number of times I have gone to print out photos in the past 10 years.
But why is this happening, why is it that we (the collective we that is) no longer feel the need to print out the photos from our latest holiday or our child's birthday party to add to the family album? I can't, nor do I want to believe, that it's all due to a lack of convenience. Going down to the store and printing out a hand full of photos really doesn't take that long. Nor can I imagine it's all about the money either. Yes, printing photos can be expensive, but comparatively, the inflation rate hasn't been as high as many other things we continue to do.
So why then? Sadly I think it may be a combination of both these things, as well as a new-found convenience that has come to us all thanks to today's technology. Personal computers with large amounts of storage, cell phones with ever enhancing cameras and social media outlets for sharing images has made hard copies of photos a thing of the past. Proud parents no longer walk around with photos of their children in their wallet, they pull out their cell phone every time someone asks how the kids are doing. Sending photos in the mail along with your Christmas card and letter updating the extended family on the past year is no longer necessary as they can all see the important moments as they are happening, thanks to the likes of Facebook and Instagram.
I, myself, am as guilty as the next person for falling into this trap. The only reason I print photos now is to send them to my grandmother as she is no longer able to navigate the murky waters of the great wide web. My in-laws are able to see images of their grandson within hours of important milestones happening rather than having to wait days or weeks to receive the images in the mail.
You'd think after this revelation I'd personally make more of an effort to print out photos, but I can assure you that that won't be the case. Why, just this evening I found myself removing photos from old albums I no longer want to keep (and that definitely don't match each other) and placing them into envelopes as they fit much better into packing boxes that way. This is a sad reality, but I'm afraid the family photo album has already become a thing of the past, something our children won't understand, much like VHS tapes and the necessity of rewinding them.
So what about you? Are you one of the few clinging to the old ways of printed photos or have you moved into the digital world of photo sharing?
“Too often now, photos end up stuck on computers or social media profiles and that’s the only place they exist – people really should make more of an effort to print images and enjoy them.” - The death of the holiday photo album (Chris Clarkson - Sunshine.co.uk)