An email came the other day and in the body of the email was an interesting blog post from a photographer titled “The Most Photographed Generation Will Have No Pictures in 10 Years!” I have seen many similar posts in the past and while I agree with some of what is said, I take a slightly different view. Go figure, right!?!
This December will mark the 40th anniversary of the first digital camera and photo ever created. Can you believe that the Digital Revolution started quietly at Eastman Kodak almost 40 years ago? The same thing happened over one hundred years ago, funny enough, by the same company Eastman Kodak. In an ad from 1889, “The Kodak Camera ‘You press the button, we do the rest.’ The only camera that anyone can use without instructions.” I bet that ad had many professional photographers quietly snickering.
So, is the Digital Revolution any different from the proliferation of film cameras that was going on in the first 30 years of the 20th century? Back then our parents and/or grandparents were “the most photographed generation” and we still have many of those photos. Why? Because many of the people who made those photos cared enough to make sure they survived. Yes, it is true that countless photos have been lost but many are still sitting in boxes waiting to be rediscovered. Lovingly filed away for someday when they would be looked through once again.
As photographers it is our job to care for the photos that we make. To lovingly file them so that someone, at some point in the future, will be able take look at and know that we cared enough about the photos we made to insure they survive into the future. The assertions that there will be no way of getting to the files stored on DVDs, CDs or today’s USB drives in the future is simply unfounded in my opinion. There will always be companies that, for a price, will convert what ever files you have created into useable files for whatever way of viewing photos is created in the future. Yes, some ways of storing digital photos have become obsolete but the images are still there, just like that long forgotten box of photos with negatives. Someone just needs to be motivated enough to take a look.
So, in 10 years will there be photos of this “most photographed generation?” Yes, there will be, plenty of them, everywhere. Will many of them be lost? Yes, that is inevitable. Many will be deleted just as many 100 years ago ended up in landfills. Some photos will make it onto our walls, posted on social media or filed for a time when we think we will have more time to properly file them. Today is the day to start properly filing your photos if you are not already.