Are we going to have an entire generation without photographs to remind them of days gone by?

Our family got togehter to have a big family reunion in the beautiful Flinders Rangers  and it made me think about the amazing photographs that our family have. Images of my grandparents and parents wedding day, the family photographs that were done by professionals, the snap shots and slides that have become invaluable to us. The fact that some of the photographs that are now so important as historical documents are over 100yrs old. And they look as good as they did the day they were printed.

My Mum, and her mum and dad on her Wedding day (she was married on her 21st birthday)

My Mum, and her mum and dad on her Wedding day (she was married on her 21st birthday)

In today’s throwaway society we would never even think to throw away these so important family heirlooms, they connect us to the generations of the past. If there is a disaster heading our way the first thing we grab would be our family members and our photographs. So these little pieces of paper have become so very important to us. There is no value that we can place upon them.

So why are we risking our current memories. We rely on bits of metal to keep them safe for us. Sure some of us back up these memories, and some back up the back ups, but there are millions of images out there just a delete button away from disappearing forever.

Recently this was really bought home to me when an amazing photographer that I know had a massive drive breakdown and lost years of worked images. She had the original files and most of the finished print versions that she was able to recover but the files that she had spent hundred our hours on disappeared. She is one of the most careful backup strategy people that I know and yet it wasn’t until her system was tested that she found she had lost all that work. From a photographers perspective it’s like losing your babies, your life’s work and just thinking about it is devastating. Not her fine art work is one thing, and I feel for her, but if my family photographs were lost like that I would be beyond devastated.


one of my favorite photos of my mum and dad, in the church and quite experimental photography for this era.


Traditional wedding photograph of the era.

Now I remember as a kid how much I loved looking through old photo albums and boxes of photos. We also had slides that we needed to see using a special device or using a slide projector. I remember my parents getting the slides converted to prints to make it so much easier for us to look at them. My kids still love looking through all those old photos at my mums place and having a good laugh about how mum looked in the 80’s. but will our children’s children be able to do the same thing?

Our lives are so busy that this history of now could be lost for the next generation unless we start to make time to print our work. At the very least print your own family photos. Keep a folder of favourites on the desktop and every now and then get them printed.

I have managed to convince my kids to let me back up their photos regularly from their electronic devices, and I add them to my print folder so that I can make sure that they have this archive of their youth to look back on in years to come.

So are you going to wish that you had the time to secure your family memories and then be disappointed that you didn’t? Are you that busy that you can’t make time to capture and PRINT photographs of the ones that you love? If you are a professional photographer are you giving your clients this gift but forgetting to create this gift for your own family?

I hope this post will make you think about all those files sitting on that hard drive and what you can do to protect it for generations to come.