Four or five years ago, Google’s Vice President, Dr Vinton Cerf, urged us all to print our most treasured digital images, or risk losing them. His stark warning related to how computer systems and software becomes ever more sophisticated meaning that images stored using older technology will increasingly become less accessible.
Let’s say you had a floppy disc with an image saved on it from maybe only 20 years ago, how would you be able to enjoy that image now? It is unlikely you would be able to open the floppy disc in any recent computer or even find a reader for it today. To bring this point forward, how will we open a USB stick with valuable wedding images in 20 years time? Already many notebook computers now don't have USB ports.
Dr Cerf, went on to urge people to think about printing out their treasured photos and not rely on storing them as memory files. It is true a printed photograph or photo album is future proof, they need no adapters or batteries. They are always ready to be enjoyed.
He continued, "In our zeal we all get excited about digitising. We digitise photographs thinking it’s going to make them last longer, we might turn out to be wrong. I would say if there are photos you are really concerned about create a physical instance of them. Print them out."
We’re all guilty of this but the reality of our hectic lives means most of us don’t prioritise printing our images. It goes without saying, all of us document our lives daily on our phones, now more than ever - but they never leave the phone, save to a social media site.
This millennium is the most recorded in history, sadly fewer photographs are printed than ever before. To bring this into perspective, I was talking recently to another portrait photographer who mentioned, when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, they took only six photographs. When his daughter did her makeup recently before popping to the popping to shops, she took 300!
Don’t get me wrong digital images have a place in our lives, the ease of sharing family moments with loved ones around the world for instance is fabulous and to flick through images while out with friends is brilliant. For those really important moments print them or make up an album, make them truly safe.
Find a photographer whose work you love and set aside some time to create beautiful family memories. Have your favourites printed by them to enjoy for many years to come without ever needing to plug them in. Make a true family heirloom.
Now back to the loft!