Tuesday, 2 October 2012

An Obituary To The Photo Album

It's become some what of a tradition that whenever I go round to my grandma's house she always likes to get an old photo album out to show us pictures of the family from years gone by. She especially likes to get the albums out of me when I was younger to show my girlfriend! The picture of me in very tight black and red trunks will haunt me forever thanks to that photo album!

But in some ways it always seems a nice thing to look back in these photo albums. It can put a smile on my face remembering happy times from my past. It also serves a great reminder that my Dad at one point was actually stick thin and remarkably had quite a fair bit of hair! (sorry dad). But times seem to be slowly changing and in some ways I really do find it quite upsetting.

The reason I started thinking about this post is because it was my girlfriends birthday this weekend. As usual we made sure to charge the camera ready to capture the antics of the night. Most of the time these photo's would just serve as a reminder the next day of what actually happened the night before followed by the words 'What the hell were we doing!?'. But this time it wasn't just about that. Before we left my girlfriend specifically asked that we try and attempt to get a nice photo that evening as we didn't have a nice one in the house. I quickly realised that we didn't actually have any photo's in our house at all. We managed to hang a stylish picture of some French scenery in our bathroom (we've never even been to France!) but not a single photo of us or the family.
Me and my late Grandad at the beach.

This started to also make me think that to have a picture in the house meant going and getting them printed, something I hadn't actually done since film camera's were replaced by digital. Most of the photo's I had taken had always ended up either sat on my computer or uploaded to a generic social network in there now not so appropriately name 'Albums'. Of course I did do some print work while I was doing photography at University but that was of professional photo shoots and never anything with a personal touch. So I decided on Sunday while I had not much to do I would try and seek out some photo's to print.

Me and my Nan at my Graduation.
I soon realised though that many of the photographs I had taken didn't exist in any original form anymore. Over the years of moving around at University and replacing my equipment a couple of times in the process I had lost most of the original photo's. This meant having to log onto the social network sites to recover the photo's I wanted to print. What I never actually realised was how much your photo's are compressed to fit on the internet. It seems funny this never actually occurred to me before as I have knowledge about reducing pixel sizes in order to place content on the web and for some strange reason this seemed to have slipped my mind when uploading my photo's to the web. This meant that even though I had the photo right in front of me it was absolutely useless for what I actually wanted it for: A physical version to keep in the house.

But what is actually going to happen in the next 10 or 20 years? What happens when me and my girlfriend eventually have kids and then grandkids? Will we all still be logging onto our social networks to show our children photo's? Do not get me wrong, I absolutely love the advancements we are seeing in technology and the progression into the digital age. But in my opinion the sharing of photo's with family members and loved ones should be some what of a personal experience. I want to one day be able to sit down with my grandkids and do the same thing my grandma has done to me for so many years..... Embarrass the hell out of them!!!!

So before it's too late, and the last nail is hammered into the coffin of the traditional photo album, I am going to now make a promise to myself to make more of an effort in preserving my photographs. I will no longer fall into the trap of thinking that our personal memories will always be safe uploaded into digital space when in-fact the moment we press that upload button we have already compromised the quality of our memories. I will preserve the right to embarrass my own children as I was once embarrassed and be able to share my family on the walls of my home. I just hope after reading this post more people will vow to do the same.....

Until next time, Keep being creative!


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