Last weekend our family attended a funeral service where we said our final goodbyes to my husband's grandmother and laid her to rest. As we entered the small chapel inside the funeral home, I spotted several picture frames filled with photos that depicted her life - from toddlerhood until age 85. Though there was a slideshow of images playing too, we were all gathered around these printed photographs, some as old as 1935. Some of the pictures, specially those from her childhood, had never been seen by the grandkids before. Everyone tried to identify the people in them and told the anecdotes behind each photograph. Granny's (as my children called her) vast collection of family photos told so many stories. Not just her own, but four generation's worth! As my children stood there pointing at the photos of themselves with their great-grandmother, I gained an even deeper appreciation for printed photos.
In the digital era we live in, it's now easier than ever to capture special moments. The camera rolls on our phones are filled with snapshots of our everyday life, but how often do we print them? While digital photos are convenient, they aren't forever. The average life expectancy of a digital file is only 10 years. Hard drives crash and servers fail, but printed photos can last over 100 years when cared for and stored properly. Above all that, printed photographs give us a physically tangible capture of our memories.
Remember the days when you and your parents would flip through family albums and they would tell you all about each photo. Or you'd sift through a box full of old pictures with handwritten inscriptions on the back. You'd hear stories of your childhood, how your parents met, or even learn about ancestors you never got to meet. I don't know about you, but I don't often go back to look at digital photos with my family the way we do albums or prints. When you can touch them in your hands, you are instantly transported to the time when those photos where taken. That is exactly why I encourage every client to print or better yet, to order a custom designed album from me, so they can revisit those memories over and over again and eventually pass them down to their kids.
My takeaway from all this is: Have your photos taken with your spouse, with your children, your parents, and all those you hold dear, to print and display. In the end, when we are gone, these reminders of us is what our loved ones are left with. Photographs are a recollection of our existence here on earth. They are a legacy to those we leave behind when we part. They tell our story and keep our memory alive. They become treasured heirlooms to those who loved us most.
Hey there! I'm Anel. Houston photographer, wife to my high school sweetheart, and mama to four wild kids who I homeschool. I love nature, capturing motherhood, and living a slow simple life. I also blog over at Tender Nest Blog