Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Serendipity Lost?

Unless you are very methodical and precise in your storage of back-up discs and hard drives, the chance of losing all your images is higher now than ever. Yes, you can store them in the internet Cloud or multiple discs and drives but even then, though they will probably remain and exist, who will ever discover them in the future? The humble shoe box full of family snaps waiting to be discovered is no more. The shoe box doesn't need a password to be opened and it doesn't need a computer in order to access the images. 

My brother came visiting on Sunday and gleefully waved an old print at me that was over fifty years old. Will our children have the same experience of discovery of 'lost' photographs? The print is cracked and creased and has the patina of age stamped upon it. That decrepitude is all a valuable part of the experience and can only be known through the physicality of a print. The picture itself is valueless (apart from the opportunity provided to my brother to enjoy some gentle teasing at my expense) but at the same time invaluable.  I'm frankly amazed at the quality of the print after all these years. No fading or chemical deterioration and the quality is excellent. And what's more, you'd need a very good modern digital camera indeed to match the resolution and clarity displayed. Progress, eh?

Oh, and I'm the little chap in the centre giving a good impression of a rabbit caught in a car's headlights.


  1. I think prints are our best chance of keeping our images for future generations Peter. After we've passed on our descendants will find it very easy to throw away our DVDs and hard drives (today's equivalents of the shoebox full of prints) that are no longer compatible with their computers. A while ago I realised that the secret to ensuring some of our images survive is to mount the best with a goodly selection that include family members in a very expensive, preferably leather and brass, album. That way they become a family heirloom that is much more likely to be kept.

  2. I agree with you, Tony. Then again, these blogs should last forever too. After all, once on the net, forever on the net.

  3. What a cute kid!
    As the end of the line—along with my non-replicating sibling, I wonder why I just bought another 2TB-external drive for photos. I have two copies of everything by date and description, and know of no one who will want the RAW/NEF photos when I die. If software even exists…but I don't print much because I want to leave a very small carbon footprint.
    I think the joy for me lies in the experience, the exhilaration of panning young skaters or getting up early, though not with the success and beautiful results of your shots, Peter. The moments of joy standing quietly in a mountainous area are enough, perhaps. The camera got me up and out. I'm grateful.
    You ARE the chap with the staff or crook or whatsit?