Did you know 1.2 trillion photos were taken in 2017? To wrap your head around this absurd number think about it this way: if these 1.2 trillion photos were all printed, it would take up the space of one hundred rows of one hundred 7 foot high pallets, which would fill 2.2 acres or well over the size of a football field (this is a rough estimate based off of what 2 trillion dollar bills would look like – I know, it’s a pretty genius comparison). What’s crazy is it’s estimated that of these 1.2 trillion photos taken, only 1 out of 100,000 will be printed.
Doesn’t seem like a big deal given you’re probably backing up your photos to a storage device or are happy to just share your images on social media. But if you learned that all your memories are at risk of disappearing in one year and then in 10 years would become completely inaccessible, would it change the way you document and preserve your family’s history? Think about your child in the future asking you for a photo of themselves when they were a baby for the 2030 (ahem, the year they’re graduating) graduation slideshow. Instead of pulling out an album or box of photographs, you point to a box filled with old hard drives, CDs, DVDs, an iPhone 2G (the first iPhone made in 2007) and say: Good luck kid! I uploaded all the photos to Instagram and thought it was going to be around forever. My bad.
Your kid: What’s ‘uploading?’
A ‘Photographic Armageddon’ Is Coming
“The most photographed generation will have no pictures in 10 years,” warned Georgia McCabe, CEO of the Photo Marketing Association. Even more ominous is the warning of a “digital dark age” by Vint Cerf, Google vice-president, in which he says computer data will be lost to posterity – where data stored on computers will be lost forever.
Think about it this way, we’re still looking at Talbot calotypes from the 1840s. So, the hope is we’ll still be able to enjoy today’s photographs in another 200 years if they have been printed properly too.
Why Your Family Tree Is Dying
With the proliferation of mobile cameras, people now take approximately three photos per day – that’s over 1000 photos a year! These photos are typically stored on hard drives or in the cloud, or shared on social media apps. What’s sad and mind blowing is these photos won’t survive beyond the year they were taken.
Yup, that photo you took of your children with their aging grandparent – gone forever. The photos you obsessively took during a special vacation – vanished. The photos you paid an amazing photographer (like mio) to document your family’s history and the love you feel for your family (the reason why you breath – no biggie) – even those will be gone.
Why are these precious photos we have invested so heavily in or mindlessly snapped disappearing? Because technology is changing at lightening speed – and all those photos you took and stored on technology devices will be obsolete in 10 years. Photographs taken even five years ago stored on CDs, DVDs or even USBs are no longer supported by today’s technology. What will our technology look like in 10 years from now? It’ll probably be floating around us in the ether accessed by our minds that will be connected to a small computer chip embedded in our brains. Seriously! Have you never watched an episode from the depressing Netflix series Black Mirror which is based on technology and how it effects our lives?
Be the Matriarch/Patriarch of Your Family’s Photo Content
Relying on digital storage is not the solution for archiving your family’s photographic history. I still have my first white Apple 2006 laptop that has photos stored on it that I took with my first ever point-n-shoot camera. One day that computer is not going to turn on (which may have already happened). Or worse, even if I’m able to turn it on, I might not have any way of retrieving the photos. Similar to the reels of film or negatives taken decades ago, they disappear for the simple reason our technology is not compatible with it.
How Your Family Tree Will Survive the Photographic Armageddon
Print your photos. Seriously, it’s that easy.
In case you couldn’t tell, I’m pretty passionate about people printing their photos, which is why all my clients can order professional quality prints from me just above my costs. <– Read that there? It’s not about money. It’s about you having high quality prints of your memories and me encouraging you to just order the freakin prints already! There’s so many benefits to printing your photographs, like getting a mood boost, increasing self-esteem in kids and ensuring your family tree continues to grow and will be remembered for generations to come.
Are you ready for the photographic Armageddon? If not, keep an eye out for my forthcoming blog post on how to organize your photograph keepsakes based on personality type.