March 17, 2011

where do you store all of the personal images you’re capturing? On your camera? or maybe you’ve managed to download them to the computer? Either way– are they protected? (psst–the answer is no).

As I go through and cull images from last year to put onto disc and archive from my personal image folders, I’m revisiting moments of history in our family: First steps, wild hair-dos, potty-training, videos of the girls dancing and captured pitter patters of tiny feet. What would happen if I LOST all of these? (Oh, y’all do NOT want to know the answer to that…trust me.)

In this digital age, there is no guarantee that my personal shots will be printed on actual paper to archive in a scrapbook (I have intentions…) so the only real tangible evidence from these “historical” moments in our home reside in copies on my hard drives!!! And this is really just not safe. Caught up in the ever-present obstacle of the day (name it– it happens around here), I neglect to do what is most important in preserving memories of our lives as we go along…memories I want to keep so that our story can be told years, even centuries down the line. The unfortunate nature of keeping it all digital is that computers crash, hard drives crash and memory discs fail! Heck, I’m not even confident in the images being safe on a DVD in my fire proof safe. (Rest assured, all client images are archived and backed up to the hilt). What if the DVD BREAKS?! What happens if technology leaves DVDs in the dust? will I be transferring images from DVD to _____ (fill in the newest technology of the future) in the same way we transferred our home movies from VHS? Think about the fate of data stored on the floppy disc?! or the zip drive!? Do any computers come with those drives anymore? Will I be able to access my DVD of archived images of these precious moments in 30 years? Or will it be like an 8-track of data… stuck in a lost time?

Of course all the fancy ones are in print and on walls but the ones that we just grab with our camera phones sometimes capture moments just as powerful to remember and they should be preserved too. And due to all the above reasons mentioned, it seems that the actual PRINTS are just as important even if they aren’t wall-portrait quality images. Photos from decades ago are recovered in their print form (and restored even!) but if they’re not in print, there is no guarantee (and unfortunately still no guarantee, then).

Do I recommend putting every single image you capture in print form and in a fire safe box? No. (I’d have to rent a storage facility– note, i didn’t say a storage “unit,” I said facility– do to that here!) But you must be willing to take the time to cull them, choose the very best ones to keep, print those and then, yes, put them in the safest place you can imagine (not in the attic). Floods happen, fires happen, (there’s not much you can do in a tornado but pray…but don’t think that those images won’t come with me into the safe room)…be as prepared as you can. 😉 That means get them off our cameras and off our computers/phones and backed up onto whatever disc format we can imagine will stand a test of time (for me it is DVD and external hard drive). Then PRINT the best ones (extra copies of the favorites) and put those prints in a safe place to store (or in a scrapbook* with acid-free paper). 😉

My brother in-law, who is a fireman, also recommends storing a copy of them off-site as well which I think is a FABULOUS idea! Thanks, Craig!! :)

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