Monday, April 16, 2007

To Keep or Not to Keep...(what was the question?)

Don't we all love photos? I have albums full of photos, and a trunk in my house full of photo envelopes containing the prints of all the pictures that didn't qualify for album status. The vast majority of those photos were taken with a 35MM camera -- and I've always subscribed to the theory that you have to take a whole lot of pictures if you want to get a few that are "keepers." So why do I have so much trouble getting rid of the ones that aren't?

To be fair, many of these pictures aren't bad -- they just weren't the cream of the crop. It's easy to pitch the blurry ones, or the ones with someone's head cut off -- but it's harder for me to cull out the rest of the prints: the "also rans."

This box is also the place that I store all the photo Christmas cards that my family members have sent me over the years. Someday I may pull those out and create an album just for them. It would be fun to look through the album and compare how these family photos have changed over the years.

Sally Jacobs has a great blog called The Practical Archivist. I like the advice she offers and the no-nonsense way she presents it. Recently she's posted a couple articles on the value of printing our photos, as opposed to storing them only on our computers or other digital media. As wonderful as this digital age's changing so fast! A few short years from now we may not be able to count on being able to access the information that we have stored on CDs or DVDs. Properly stored, paper will last for many many years...and is the safest way we currently have of making sure that future generations can view the photos that we hold precious today.

I love my old Minolta 35MM camera -- it feels great in my hand, and the photos it takes are top-notch. But my Nikon coolpix digital camera is working great for me too. And the luxury of being able to tell right away if I have something worth keeping is one of the best parts of digital photography. Thanks to Sally's articles, I'm going to be more diligent about printing out my "keepers" though -- they are too special to risk losing!

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