Photos are important, but they mean very little if they just sit on a USB, CD or even on your computer. Think about going to your parents and finding an old photo album. Flipping through each page and the emotions that come with this experience. The nostalgia, the laughter, the reminiscing. Perhaps a mixture of happiness and sadness over-seeing the face of a loved one now gone.
When you touch that album, you remember all the times you have held it before, maybe going as far back as your childhood. When you flip through the pages, it’s almost as if you hold time in your fingertips; it’s visceral and deep, something to protect and cherish. Scanning over the details of each image, you can recall the house you grew up in or become surrounded by the vision of your favorite dog.
Your parents can recall the very moment in any photo and tell you all the details of that very day. They can explain the story behind your giant smile or maybe why you are crying. They look into the eyes of the toddler in the image and stare at you now, all grown up, eyes glazed over at the memory of what life used to be… in complete disbelief at how fast time has gone. The album or loose photographs all spark a memory and set off a barrage of senses. It does something incredible! It takes us back in time. It freezes a memory and allows us to pass that (as well as its story) onto the next generation. THAT is the power of a printed photo.
We could argue that there are many ways to secure the digital photographs we have, but how many photos have you already lost to a broken phone or to a crashed computer? How many of your precious photos are just sitting on a USB in a drawer somewhere or in a folder on a computer? Does your household even have a computer or is everything done through your phones and televisions? We have no idea where or how technology will evolve and how that will impact our digital storage.
I mean, look at floppy discs, and even CD’s. It's an aged process to find a floppy disc reader and most modern computers don't even have CD readers. Will eventually USB & USB ports become archaic too? Will they need to be transferred to a new medium like VHS or Beta Tapes? Even if you do find a good VHS or CD reader, you now have to hope that the device is in good enough shape to read the disc/tape as well as hope that the disc/tape are in good enough shape to be read! We can all agree that over time, the older the technology the less reliable it becomes.
This holds true for your USB, CD and hard-drive storage devices. None of that is guaranteed. If you read the labels of external storage devices, there will be a disclosure that there is a life span to the device that cannot guarantee that it will do its job much beyond a few years. And let's not even talk about social media.... What would happen if tomorrow Facebook or Instagram just shut down? Everything you ever shared or saved was gone forever. Are you prepared for that? Because it could happen.