Future proof your photos

For anyone who reads this and owns a camera of any type, I have a quick question for you. Do you make prints of your photos?

Paper prints. So easy a child can use them.
Paper prints. So easy a child can use them.

I love the current state of technology where I can shoot a photo, post it on Flickr, and by sundown have two thousand people across the globe already have viewed it. The rate at which we can laterally spread information still blows my mind, but what about spreading the exposure of our images into the future?

The rapid instant exposure we have via the internet is awesome, but I sometimes feel that the humble 4×6 print is losing its sway. The way I see it, the simple print is the only sure-fire way to easily be able to reach thirty, sixty, ninety or more years into the future. The major reason that the print is where it’s at, is technology independence.

Imagine cleaning out your attic today. In one box you fine an album of old prints. You open the album up, and spend twenty or so minutes looking at them, and become nostalgic. Perhaps you’ll remove a few of the better ones and start to show them to members of your family. You put the album back in the box, and then find another box full of 3.5-inch floppy discs full of images you took with your Sony Mavica in 1998. Is the disc labeled so you actually know what is on it? Does your computer actually still have a 3.5-inch floppy drive any more? If it doesn’t are you going to go track one down that works? If you find one, is the disc even still going to work?

Being technology independent, all you need to use are your eyes, and for just a moment. It’s so simple even my grandma can do it by instinct, as will my grandchildren, their grandchildren, and their grandchildren’s grandchildren. As long as we don’t evolve our eyes away, or the Earth doesn’t get cast in a shroud of impenetrable shadows, we will have the technology required to use a print.

So, this is my plea, if you aren’t in the habit of getting prints made from your digital files, start now. Your relatives in 2092 will thank you for it.