Last night on The Walking Dead (you know, the ONLY tv show I watch), the main character, Rick, and his son, Carl, returned to what was left of their hometown after being gone for however long 3 seasons is in “real” time. They learned that their house had been destroyed, and Carl went on a dangerous mission to grab the only remaining photo of his family – one that was hanging on the wall in a local (now zombie-infested) restaurant.
When the show went off, I started thinking about how accessible my important photos would be if I had to leave my house in a hurry. Not that I’m especially concerned about a zombie apocalypse, but there are plenty of other things that could go wrong.
Both of Jayden’s baby albums are on one of my bookshelves, I recalled. Phew, nothing to worry about!
Then I remembered the box of Jay’s school photos in my desk drawer. The ones I keep saying I’m going to put in an album. And the two shoeboxes in my office closet. The ones on my old computer in a folder called “Camera Dump” that I need to move to the computer I use now. The ones on my current computer. The ones on my phone. The 10 or so disposable cameras (remember those?) from my junior and senior year of high school that still need to be developed the old fashioned way – I don’t know if the pictures would even turn out. Oh crap, and there’s another shoe box in the top of my bedroom that I just remembered as I was typing this.
The Times, They Are A-Changin’
I love technology. LOVE. IT. But this photo situation is a real problem for me and I’m not sure what to do about it. As technology has evolved, I’ve thrown aside the old way of keeping up with pictures in favor of whatever was more convenient at the time, leaving a trail of pictures that would be (1) impossible to track down in an emergency and (2) really difficult to combine into a unified storage format.
Every picture I’ve taken in the last 4-5 years is on my phone and/or computer. I couldn’t tell you the last time I held a physical photo in my hand. People don’t even carry photos in their purses or wallet anymore – they either hand you their phones or tell you to look online. And while I think that’s really cool, I can’t help wondering what would happen if all of us suddenly lost access to our devices or had to flee during a disaster. Could we someday be forced to walk away from all those memories with nothing but a (potentially useless) portable hard drive or SD card?
When my grandfather remarried a few years ago, he moved a ton of old photo albums out to the garage. There simply wasn’t enough room in the house for all those pictures, plus he and my step-grandmother are hip enough to keep up with all their kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids on Facebook. My parents’ physical photos are in a storage tote somewhere in their house – I’m not sure where.
I really can’t think of anyone other than my 93 year-old great-grandmother who keeps up with actual photos, and even she really likes looking at pictures on my iPad because she can see them better.
Tell Me it’s Not Just Me
This is one of those things that will drive me crazy until I do something about it. The problem is, I’m not really sure what to do. Do I go all-digital and keep my physical photos as backups? Do I order prints of the hundreds of pictures stored on my various devices? Should I go around to all my family members and demand that they drag out a bunch of dusty albums so I can scan their photos with my Shoebox app?
What do you do with your photos? Would you be able to find and access them if a disaster happened? Am I a lunatic for worrying about this? I’d love to know what you think!