Years ago the saying was “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Today, with the ease of sharing photos I’m not sure that saying holds true. Tech is making it so easy to take photos and share them. Almost every social network has some interface that will take you from click to share in just a few steps. The time from taking a photo to handing it off to grandma has gone from weeks (or months) to something more like 2 minutes.
I look back at photos from just 10 years ago and while I do have a few I took and had developed from my “real camera”, it was so much easier to use the digital photos. Only problem is that compared to today their resolution is so low. We’ve been conditioned to need a 14 megapixel photos, despite doing nothing more than sharing it on social network.
For the first years of BabyGirl’s life I made photobooks. One of my favorite ways to remember our experiences is to create a photobook. I spent hours saving, uploading, arranging, and adding text to these little books. I was already uploading the photos to print them out, may as well make a book. But those days seem long past.
In their place are hard drives filled with tens of thousands of photos. I have multiple photo libraries because I try to limit them to 25,000 items. You know, “just incase”. Many of which are random food shots, the sky, feet, and who knows what all else. Gone are the days of thinking twice about taking a photo and in its place we have twice as many photos. Heck, who am I kidding, for every one photo we used to snap on our film camera we have 50 we take on our phone or digital camera. And instead of being excited to develop the film when we heard it rewind, we … Well, I can’t speak for everyone but I know I don’t order prints any more as a routine.
Every once in awhile I upload a few photos and order prints. A few photos of my grandma and her brother and sister-in-law. A photo I just happened to snap of the orchestra conductor. But even those, while I want the prints, often seem like such a hassle.
Now, with my Samsung Galaxy S4 (which I received as part of the Verizon Insider program), I easily shoot videos that look better than my traditional video camera. Again, recording life but doing nothing with it. So what’s the point?
I don’t have many photos from my childhood. But those I have are so precious and important. BabyGirl will end up with few tangible photos, but have terabytes or maybe even petabytes or exabytes. Sounds great to have hundreds of thousands of photos, but we’re not archiving them. Even though many of the photo software programs we have add tags based on GPS data or facial recognition, we don’t do anything with the photos. We take them, share some, save all. It’s like we’re photo hoarders.
What should we really be doing with these photos?
- Share – sharing them with our social networks is great. But what about with people who aren’t on line?
- Delete – at the end of any given day we may have taken 20 or 30 photos. Most of which are not worth keeping for our lifetime. We really need to just delete the ones we know we won’t ever use or share and maybe come back to them periodically to cull them again.
- Organize – Saving digital photos in files by date is great. But the days and weeks run together. Even months and years tend to become a blur. If we only have a manageable collection to organize, it’s easy to change the default file name to something we’d actually search for if we went looking.
- Print – whether it’s taking an SD card (or Memory Stick) to the local store to print off a few photos, uploading them to a site that will print them for pick up at a store you’re going to, or creating something more elaborate like a photo book we really need to consider having a tangible way to enjoy the photos and share them with new friends.
I remember being a teen and sitting on the couch with my grandpa going through photo albums and listening to the stories behind the photos or learning about the people in them. As I’ve moved my grandmother from her home, I’ve had to consider what to do with her multitude of photo albums. As my grandmother ages, I miss out on the stories and history the photos hold. And while there are a number of photo albums, there really aren’t many photos that cover her 93 years. I have 2 photo albums that belonged to my mother. Together they may have 50 photos. It’s my only visual connection to her. And there is no one to tell me the stories. Still, I cherish them.
But I wonder how much my daughter is missing out on because looking at photos isn’t as easy as pulling out a photo album, snuggling together on the couch, and reliving this wonderful experience. Instead, there is no looking at old photos because it means booting up the external hard drive, finding the photos, waiting for them to load, and balancing a laptop. And even if I can pull them up on the home network, it’s not the same looking at them on the TV.
“A picture’s worth likes and shares” just doesn’t have that same feel. We really need the thousand words.
Disclosure: As stated above, Verizon Wireless provided me with a Samsung Galaxy S4. This is not a sponsored post and no compensation was provided for this post. This post reflects my views and opinions and was not reviewed or edited by a third-party. I do, however, have a business relationship with Verizon Wireless and thus I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.