So where are we today?. Digital has taken over all aspects of our photographic life. We have gone through a mini revolution in storage for our precious shots, the 100k floppy disc, zip discs, optical discs, cd's, dvd's flash drives, memory cards, mobile hard drives, blu ray… it never ends. Ever since Apple dropped the disc drive in 1998 there has been a need for greater and greater storage facilities. Now the latest is cloud services. The virtual hard drive offering us instant access to all our stored memories. The problem with all these is that we never quite get around to actually using our images. There are so many memories lost on ancient devices or stored on camera chips where most will never see the light of day. It's just to dam easy to take a thousand shots. How often has someone shown you a photo of their baby or kid on their mobile phone!
The photographic print has been around since the 1800's the book from around the 1400's when Gutenberg put ink to paper. Now ask yourself how long digital imaging been around and how much has it changed in such a short period. Files become corrupt, technology becomes old and unusable, all these images, all those memories stored and forgotten on technology that will last as long as the humble lifetime guarantee that manufactures offer.
There was a time when a family album was a book to be cherished, often handed down from family to family. Inside all the precious moments that make us who we are. The places we traveled too, the people that touched our life's, old friends, lost friends and so much more. Sure, some photos may be dogged eared and fading but its a real solid document of everyones life and without these little memories captured with the alchemy of light and chemicals our memories would be lost forever.
Even as I write this there is storm brewing over the rise of the digital ebook and digital editions of newspapers. Publishers wishing to stay in business are are having to adapt to new media technologies such as the iPad and Kindle readers. I love my iPad and the convenience of having novels, magazines , art books, reference books, newspapers from home and abroad, all on one small device, is life changing. I for one now download more magazines than I buy in the local newsagents, it suits my lifestyle. On the other hand I am also aware how disposable these digital goods become at times when you run out of space, hit delete, job done. Its that very convenience that will ultimately be our undoing. Would you look through the family album then throw it out! of course not, but with digital unless you are obsessive about backing up and keeping track of your images or data and that also includes regular maintenance of all your equipment such as hard drives etc you will loose these precious moments forever.
In an attempt to preserve my own photos and art I have over the years produced several printed books and I am currently working on several more. All are available from the Blurb book store. I will also be making them available via an ebook for these very same devices that make my life easy, yes you can have your cake and eat it!. My objective when I started to publish my work was to produce a collection of beautiful books that I could hand down to my kids and say, hey this is what your dad did for a living, life through my eyes. Its a personal archive of moments, emotions, likes and dislikes and I'm sure these printed books will far out live any digital image that remains on any discs, hard drives or the latest virtual cloud service that I end up using.
Just stop for a moment and ask yourself about all those photos you have lovingly uploaded to social networking sites such as Facebook. If and when the next things comes along will the site still be there and who's in control of your memories! So start now, download them, edit them and print them.