Instead of the usual 2015 round up blog post I’ve decided to write a more personal post about the importance of printing your photos. I know we get told time and time again to make backups of our digital images and free them from our computers as printed photographs but here I am about to tell you again. Maybe you’ve already given up on the New Year’s resolutions you made a week ago, if so – here’s another one for you to try!
As a child I can remember the first time my Mum got out all the old family photo albums that she’d carefully put together over the years. No-one can deny that they love to look back over old photographs to laugh and cringe at the clothes we wore, the haircuts our parents had as well as to reminisce over family holidays. But more importantly, for me, is that they fill in the blanks of events that occurred before I was born or before I was old enough to have a memory of them.
Thirty years ago it was easier to put together these albums as you’d get a print of every photo you took and film by film, you’d build up your photo album. Film was precious. With every roll you only got 24 or 36 frames and it was normal in our house for a roll to last over a year with the camera only being brought out on holidays, at birthdays, or Christmas.
Fast forward to 2016 and photography is so much more accessible – everyone has a camera on their smartphone. Shots are free, there’s no developing costs – you can take as many as you like with no restrictions and so that’s exactly what we do.
But here’s the thing – although we are able to document our lives so freely – I still reckon my Mum has more printed photographs of me and my siblings as a baby than any of my friends do of their own children.
As wedding season has come to an end, it’s meant that I’ve been able to spend my time at weekends planning my own upcoming wedding and more importantly, spend some time with family and friends. There’s been a few big changes over the last few months – not just getting engaged but I’ve also become an auntie to a wonderful nephew, Harry. And so, recently I’ve been inspired to spend some time collating all my personal photographs into physical photo albums. I have always regularly printed my photographs but until recently they’ve been stuck in their packets, stacked in boxes or stuffed away in drawers. Picking up prints no longer has the anticipation it used to when we didn’t know what we’d be getting back but there’s still something so lovely about seeing them in print that’s just not the same as looking on a computer screen, phone or tablet.
And here’s the horrible thing. At some point, sooner or later, your computer will break, or your hard disk will corrupt or you’ll have your phone lost or stolen. And all those precious images that those devices contained will be lost. Consequently in fifteen years, hardly anyone will have printed photo albums and it makes me sad to think that the next generation will grow up unable to see pictures of their parents in their youth, of their parents’ wedding day and of their siblings and themselves as babies as well as being able to see those family members that have already passed. I want my children to thumb through photos in the same way that I did. I remember laughing at my Dad in his flared jeans and mocking the fluffy interior of my parents’ Ford Cortina. I’m sure there’s many hairstyles and outfit choices we’d love to forget but for the next generation, being able to look through those photos will be priceless.
Have you got the message yet? Just go and print your photos please!