This is a topic that really is important to each and every person. Or at least anyone who has digital photos… and who doesn’t? Please take the time to watch this video and just think about it for a few minutes. There is no real “big” revelation of an answer. I came across this video some time back and could never find it again until I seen it in my news feed today.
I started with my first digital camera several years back (about 1999), a Hewlett-Packard 2 MP and I experienced problems just a year into my digital photography. At the time the small three and half-inch floppy disk was a standard means of storage. Well it was standard for me until I bought the next computer and it didn’t have a floppy drive, it only had CD drive. I remember a few computer geek friends of mine who got a good ole belly laugh and said “why in the world would you store anything on a floppy.” It sure made me feel like a dummy. But I also started to think “what if CDs go out of date?” And again I was laughed at. Then as time marched on we seen compact flash cards (my first digital camera had one), than SD, Micro SD, Thumb Drives and cut to present day and it is all about external hard drives and cloud storage. It all keeps changing and now people are laughing at those who still store on a CD. But meanwhile we still have the option to print and frame our photos… or hey, what about putting them in a photo album? At 50 years old I certainly remember how novel it was to visit a friend a see photo albums sitting under the coffee table in the family room and they were there for whoever wanted to see them. And if anybody dare laugh at printing photos today, well I ask you to talk to any wedding photographer and ask how important that bridal album is to the client? For a wedding photographer; aside from the agony of capturing the day’s events, there is most times the greater agony of that “album” to deal with.
Now because we have social media there is no need for an album under the coffee table… or is there? Photobooks I think would be a better option today than that old style album with the plastic sheets. But… photo-books can be costly. Again as you can see there really is no cut & dry answer to this topic. But personally I still lean towards prints. I can tell you that the DNG file, which is also called a “digital negative”, is a lossless format that was created by Adobe. The DNG is recommended by the Library of Congress as the standard means of archiving digital images. So therefore I think it is safe to say that computers & software will be able to always read DNG file format. But… hold on there a minute; did you even know what a DNG was before you just read about it here? Most in-depth photographers would know, but the average person might not know. Then ask yourself this question; If DNG is the so-called standard, why does my camera or better yet, all cameras not shoot a DNG file? And yes not all cameras shoot a DNG and that includes the cameras in most average mobile phones. Kind of confusing and again leading us back to the big question of; If we really… and I mean “really” love our photos and want to save them as our parents & grandparents did, we need to come up with a way to do this and not just talk about it.
Could there actually come a time when people of the future look back in time and see all those old paper photos that pre-date digital and have a big gaping shadow where the digital age started because there is no way to retrieve a vast amount of digital files? Where are digital files actually stored when we send them to the so-called “cloud?” Or let’s just get real crazy and ask; what if there is ever a weapon developed that can erase or destroy large amounts of digital files at one time? Sounds kind of outrageous and futuristic right? About as outrageous and futuristic as the nuclear bomb was just five years before it was built and used to destroy two cities, by virtually erasing them from the earth. I know that all seems a little farfetched in a conversation about photography, but let’s just really give thought as to how you want to pass your special moments of your life on to your next generation. It actually would be kind of funny if nobody did anything and there was a big gap in retrieving digital files in the future. They could all look back and think; “we don’t know all of what went on back then, but we do know they had awesome weddings.” Hahahhahaa.
As always, thank you for reading and have a great day.