I read an article recently advising me to ensure I safely save all my digital photos. This should be done in a way that they can be shared when it comes my time to pass on.
Good idea, I thought.
I learned the horrors of not doing this. All these precious photos would not get seen by the living relatives to the family tree enthusiasts in the distant future. I’d better get on this right away.
After reflecting and before acting I understood things had changed. In the old days of my parent’s era, photos were few and far between special occasions and certainly not wasted on images of plates of food. The development of each roll of film had to be sent away to a national processing centre which returned black and white prints. Oh, the joy!
These pictures would get inserted into a photo album and brought down from the shelf when friends and family came over the next time. Then they became door-stops-in-waiting.
Preserving these pictures of family life was important and these albums were handed down to the next generation – all 100 images!
Now, for better or for worse, most of us with a cell phone fall under the spell of visually recording every aspect of our lives; from the food we eat, to selfies of our heads that fill most of the frame with different expressions, to intimate photos best left to our imagination if you are so inclined.
And, oh boy, do we share these. I Googled to find the right answer, so it must be right; 54,400 photos are taken every second around the world. That’s every second. Probably a quarter of a million in the time it took to read this paragraph.
The problem has shifted from preserving the few images a life we may have produced to vetting all the photos so the gems are not tossed out with the bathwater – or I mean the garbage.
I’m focusing on a do-over of my family tree – but that story is for another time. I knew I could attach photos to individuals in the tree. I combined that knowledge with the finding of a metal lidded tray with close to 500 slides I had taken in my youth. There is no practical way to share all these images in the software. If I left them in the container, one look by my children and with guilt and relief they would toss the package into the garbage. Job done.
So, I’m trying to save them that moment. My parents never had to face this problem. It was important to curate the collection. So, I started viewing each coloured slide. Any sunsets were quickly left out. Same for rivers and mountains. A very few pictures of scenery were kept if they captured an entire trip or extended time together.
One criterion was the emotional reaction I had to the picture. A few of these photos I emailed to those I thought would be interested – at least for a few moments.
I’m actively and consciously sharing now. My children will be unknowingly grateful.
Please give this a bit of a think. After your passing are your digital photos available to your Executor? Does this person have password access? How many photos do you have – take a wild guess? Are they all critically memorable to others? What is the risk that somebody will be overwhelmed during a time of deep grieving, and decide to toss them all out?
I’m curious about your thoughts. Please share your bit of a think below.
If you enjoyed The Blog, please share it with others. Thanks.
And my thanks to St. Albert Seniors Association: 780-459-0433 for making this Blog possible.