I have a photo of my father from when he was approximately 11. I love this photo so much. It's small and black and white and perfect because it's him. It is a tangible piece of history. It is a solid and real part of my family's story. It is a treasure.
We live in a digital world. We are taking photos more than ever, but they’re nearly all digital files with very few tangible prints, products or albums being produced. By now, we know that digital doesn't mean safe; files corrupt, hard drives fail, servers can crash. Yet millions of memories are currently being entrusted to servers, clouds and phones. The risk could be felt by our entire generation, as we grow up without a printed, photographic record of our lives.
It's not only today's youth that is affected by this digital age. 42% of people between the ages of 30 and 44 will likely look back and wonder where photos of their childhood, holiday get-togethers, relatives and friends have gone decades from now? Why? They no longer print photographs or create photo albums. In fact, 67% store their photos solely on a computer or phone. [2015 nationwide survey conducted by Professional Photographers of America (PPA)]
Photographs are a huge part of my home. Even long before I took up my camera and began my business, photographs were important. When I was a kid, we didn't have many photos of my family. Sure we had snapshots here and there (mostly taken by me using my little 110 camera when I was very young), but never anything that hung in our house.
I decided when I grew up, that I'd have pictures throughout my home, photos of my family because family is so important. In this blog, I've included a few of the photos that grace our house. Really, there are photos tucked in wherever I can fit them. Why? It's not just that it's us or that it's pretty decor. The photos in our landing upstairs are large prints of my girls when they were three and five. They are beautiful, of course, but each and every time I look at them, I'm reminded of the beautiful evening we spent at the Lake McBride beach taking them. They are a special moment of us together, and we took them to send to their daddy while he was deployed to Afghanistan. Every time I look at them, I remember my sweet Gabby's wild hair and Laurelin's soft curls that used to form at her temples.
In my daughters' room, this trio of them in pink pettiskirts has graced the wall since just a few days after I took the photos. Every morning, when they wake up, I hope they are reminded of the fun they have together, the giggles they share, and how much they love each other. These moments, captured in photographs, are worth more than 1,000 words. They are our life. I want to surround my children and my family with silent reminders of how loved they are and how important we are to each other.
Above are three of Gabby's scrapbooks, all digitally scrapbooked from photos we've taken throughout the years. Folks, there are over 300 pages between just these three books. Laurelin's scrapbooks were done the old fashioned way, but still hold over 300 pages as well. Gabby loves to sneak off with her books and look through them. When we look through their books together, it is so wonderful to see the excitement on their faces and hear questions about the people in the photos or find pictures that bring back memories. These are a tangible story. They are something we can hand down to our girls and they can share with their children.
We have clusters of table top images scattered throughout our home. Our library shelves are filled with them. Not just photographs of our immediate family, photographs of our extended family as well. The hallway upstairs has photos of our parents and siblings (and their families).
When my dad passed, I was so thankful to have those photographs of him.
We have a few large canvas groupings throughout the house as well. I love this one! A nice portrait of our family in the middle (oh my word, the cheeks on my girls! I miss their pinch-able cheeks. They grow too quickly!), surrounded by black and white moments. It is simple and beautiful. We may not always have the best day and we may get on each others' nerves, but we are surrounded by images that remind us just how loved and blessed we are. They are wonderful reminders on those rough days.
How can you ensure your memories last for generations? Print your photos. Print your snapshots, your cellphone images, any image of someone or some moment you treasure. Hire a photographer who offers archival prints and albums. Create keepsakes and heirloom products that you can pass on to your children and their children for generations to come. The power of prints is real. They are a treasure.