Family photos are often cited as being the possessions that people would most want to save from a house fire. Why do you think that photographs are such a significant part of our lives? Write down how you feel about photos – or videos – from your family’s past.
I think the reason that people love photographs is that it is so hard to remember things clearly. I remember very little from my childhood, for instance, and although photos don’t really jog memories of my very young years, I do love to see what I was like back then. Some events I remember, but not in great detail, such as trips to Disney. I can remember being there and a few little things, but seeing pictures brings it all back to life. Even memories of my children are fading. I know my son had curly hair when he was little, but seeing it in photos makes the memory that much clearer.
Another reason I think people like photos, including me, is that they are often the main way our loved ones are kept alive. My mum, for example, died 7 years ago, and I like to look at old pictures and remember her. My kids never met her, so it’s a nice way for them to see what she was like too.
My dad, on the other hand, always hated photos, for the opposite reason that I like them. He always said that he prefers to rely on his memory of events and remember them that way, instead of through a photograph. Unfortunately, his memory is terrible and he rarely recalls things accurately. We don’t bother to correct him most of the time as he’s happy with his recollections.
Will this archiving be affected by the digital revolution? Do you have images languishing on your hard drive that you keep meaning to process? Is flicking through images on someone’s phone or digital photo frame as potent as looking through an album or sorting through a box of photos? Or is it better?
Documenting our lives has taken on a whole new levels now that we have a camera available 24/7. I think the laymen among us generally only brought their cameras out for people and/or events that they deemed special enough to capture on film. Now we are literally capturing every little thing. Did people get their film cameras out to take a photo of every meal they made? I definitely didn’t. What would we even have done with them? Made a photo album solely of dinner photos?
Digital cameras, coupled with the ability to share the photos they capture with the entire would via the internet, has increased the frequency and number of photos we all take every day. I’m sure 90% or more of these end up sitting on our phones or hardrives forever, and never see the light of day. Having said this, I certainly had loads and loads of rolls of film hanging around that I never bothered to get developed, so not everything has changed in that respect.
We are all used to looking through people phones at their photos, but I find seeing things in such tiny resolution pretty underwhelming. Digital photo frames are not too bad, and looking through albums on a tablet or laptop is an improvement. I don’t know if anything will ever match up to looking at actual printed photos in an album that had the old clear, sticky plastic sheets covering them though!