Whenever I visit my parents’ house, a familiar scene unwinds. Someone (ok, I admit, it’s usually me!) will reach for one of the many photo albums that line the shelves in their living room. They are the faux leather, ring bound, sticky paged variety with the peel back film. Remember them? The 1980s classic. The pages are starting to yellow and the glue is going but I feel these albums *are* my childhood.
Where my memories weren’t formed yet or where they’ve become fuzzy, this huge collection of albums fills in the gaps.
When I cheering up, the massive 80s glasses and puffy sleeves on my Mum get me giggling.
I love the trip down memory lane of amazing holidays, absent family members and houses I grew up in.
How are you preserving your photos?
As I love looking through these albums, I’ve continued the album tradition into my adult life. First, I lovingly scrapbooked and then I time got short and I switched to digital albums. However, the format is largely irrelevant to me; our big trips and little everyday moments get put into albums that we happily flick through as a family.
The funny thing is, whenever I bring an album out to show someone, the reaction leads me to believe it’s akin to real magic that I have ACTUAL PHOTOS in ACTUAL BOOKS. So, I’m left thinking I’m a bit of an anomaly in making albums.
What do you do with your photos in this day and age? Are you consigning yourself to the forgotten generation?
The big trips and the yearly digest
Of course, I love an album of a big adventure, but I think a lot of us are missing out by forgetting about the everyday. But then of course, I am biased because I love the magic of everyday life. Have you considered making an album of the regular days of your years ticking along?
I will hazard a guess that these albums will become even more treasured than the big adventures.
There is nothing like looking back on a year and seeing how much happened in a trip round the sun. Or seeing how much your little munchkins changed in 365 days. It’s funny because it’s the incremental change that you totally miss when you see them daily but seeing it in print is staggering.
The forgotten generation
My biggest concern with not printing our photos is that we’re only one phone in the toilet or malfunctioning hard drive away from losing all of our memories.
I’ve been there.
I had a computer that I used to back up to an external hard drive… manually. Well, you know how it is. You get busy, time ticks on. And then your hard drive fails after you haven’t backed up in over four months and you have nobody to blame but yourself.
I’ve also dropped my phone in a toilet but who hasn’t been there. Ick. (And no, rice didn’t save that bad boy). Double ick.
Plus, think of how fast technology moves… the 5-inch floppy, the 3.5-inch floppy (which weirdly wasn’t floppy at all), the CD and even the USB which is already becoming defunct. Even by using the cloud you’re storing your images in someone else’s space and relinquishing a tiny bit of control over them.
The power of touching a photo
I wrote this post a while back about the power of photos on the self-esteem of kids and I totally stand by the importance of printing your photos.
For me this awesome quote says it all:
“Touching the photograph where a face is smiling, it is the same thing as touching a book when you read it. There’s a lot of stimulation of the brain when you have that sensory experience. That is a bit lost in the move to digital. You are touching a keyboard, mouse or a touchscreen but you are not touching the image.” says Craig Steinberg, a licensed psychologist who works with children ages five through 13 using phototherapy.
Not only are photos a way of teaching your child that they belong which is critical for their social survival, and showing them that you are proud of them, it also weaves a narrative through time.
Photos connect us to our sense of self and to times gone by. They introduce us to people we will never be able to meet and to stories we were never fortunate enough to be part of. Memories that would otherwise fade or be forgotten can remain with us and handed down the generations.
To me, there is no greater importance than that.
Don’t cast your family into the forgotten generation. Whether it is through professionally crafted albums, homemade scrapbooks, online printed books of your holidays or iPhone app assembled albums you will never regret the time you invest in creating these keepsakes for your children.