Nostalgia Now and For The Future

A week-or-so ago there was a thing on Facebook called 'Way Back Week'. A lovely idea, where people dug out their old photographs and posted one as their profile picture for that week. What absolute fun, and a time consuming experience that was - rummaging through the packets of photographs, howling with laughter at our clothes, remembering important occasions and feeling sentimental about friends lost.

What struck me was that those packets of photographs came to quite an abrupt end at a period of my life. What happened? Did my parents no longer want to fill drawers of these moments in history, ready to be pulled out, ready to embarrass or reminisce at a moments notice? No, Mum was always ready to do that. So why? I have to say it was digital cameras, then smart phones. We no longer needed to print anything - all our memories were right there at a touch of a button, stored on hard drives, CDs, DVDs, USB sticks, in the cloud... This is genius, right?

I'm afraid I have to disagree somewhat. Outside of work, where everything I shoot is captured, stored and delivered digitally, I still love to print my photographs. I have albums stuffed with memories.The main reason I became a photographer was a bag of tiny photographs taken by my Grandfather during his years in the Royal Navy. Lots of ships, handsome young men in smart uniform, his monkey and guns, war and death. Just about every time I visited him I looked at these photographs, a single point in time preserved, that was it, the job for me. 

In years to come if Facebook or similar has another 'Way Back Week' - we will not have the photographs to look back at because in years to come our hard drives will have failed, our smart phones are no longer smart, children will laugh at us for talking about these old 'CD things' and we all are wondering just how exactly we are going to retrieve the images from a USB stick that we have nothing to plug it into anymore. And if we do manage to print something off - will we know who these people are? When it was taken and where it was? 

What I'm alluding to I suppose is that is so important to print your photographs, write on them where and when it was and importantly who the people are. We will always want look at albums of photographs of friends and family, galleries and museums should always be filled with historical photographs.

It just might inspire another youngster to become a photographer and keep on documenting life.


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