Ok, I have an incredibly personal request for you all.
No matter what friends, will you please, please, please print the best of your digital files, print them often, and print them on decent quality materials so they last? Don’t do it because I’m asking, but do it for you and your family.
We live in such an increasingly digital age where so much emphasis is put on digital files – but not as much thought goes into the future of those files. I’m begging you to think about what you do with those digital photos and not only make backups, but make sure you print them. And don’t do it just because I’m writing this imploring you to – this isn’t for me. This is for you – and your family.
What brought this all on? I unfortunately just went through the heart breaking process of burying my grandfather last week. As is expected, All of us in the family are sad, heartbroken, and clinging to every image and piece of him we can find. He was a family man, always working his hardest for us in every big and little way he could. We were his priority and in this post-grandpa life we face, preserving his memory is now our priority.
During the funeral process, I went through a frantic flurry of trying to find photos of my grandpa for a memorial album for the funeral home. I was surprised that I had slightly more digital images of him from this last year than I had printed copies from his entire life … and it made me so sad.
I felt like every old photo of him was a physical way for us to connect to him now that he’s gone. Those photos became the most precious things. And it hit me even harder that I had none of those digital ones printed and panicked at the thought that one day I might have no way of displaying them when I needed to :/.
It felt like it took forever to get the funeral home to be able to upload those jpg files for display. It kept going through my head – What if their system couldn’t read my files?! Which lead to – What if future systems make current tech obsolete, how would we be able to view anything?
I also panicked when I momentarily couldn’t find my backed up files of images I took of grandpa in 2005-2008 :/. Sadly, one of the folders was corrupt too, add that to the list of stress with digitals :/.
While I had a backup and was able to pull the files in the end, it wasn’t without a massive struggle.
But the bigger heartache was simply finding pictures of my grandfather in the first place.
We had no images of him as a child – I suspect due to family circumstances of the time & lack of easy cheap access to a camera in 1930’s Romania – and fewer images as an adult over the years (again partly due to lack of camera access, but also because HE was taking the pictures when they were being taken). And then there were the small, pixelated ones off my phone. I doubt I can get good prints beyond a 2.5×3.5 wallet size – but it’s something and I’m going to try. If all I ever have are the cell pics, that’s better than nothing of-course!
My point of all this, finally (and sorry, it was so long winded) is simply – take pictures, get yourself in front of the camera and take them often – and print them, don’t just stare at them on your screen and allow yourself to forget about them.
I guarantee you, people who love you don’t care about those flaws you keep telling yourself need to be hidden from the camera. You deserve to have your picture taken, beautiful flaws and all. People who love you don’t see them – they see the person they love. People who love you want to see you and want to remember you in the future just as you are. Your family deserves something of you when you’re gone – likewise you deserve something of them when they can’t be with you too, so encourage them to step in front of that camera at all costs.
There’s no time like now to make sure you take some photos, and no time like now to download and print your files.
Just Don’t let your current fears rob your loved ones of a image of you. And don’t let this digital age make you lazy to ensure that something tangible survives to help them physically connect to you.
Nothing can replace the connection a print can create for the people you love.
So take photos. Often. And print. Often.