Friday, July 26, 2013

My Take: The Death Knell of the Photograph.

I had this printed from an old negative I found amongst my photos. Im the one with the Peter Pan collar and the plaid skirt.

I got my first camera when I was 14. I still have a few of the large, square black and white photos I took with the little brownie Hawkeye, which I keep along with my Kodiak 260, and my three Polaroid cameras, including of course a “Swinger.” Why don’t they make them anymore? Polaroid cameras were awesome!

I checked online and two packs of the film were $150.00! When I got my first digital camera, I felt like I had made it to the new age of photography. To be able to upload them to the computer and edit them to my heart’s content opened up a whole new world for me. At one time, I had over 10,000 photos saved on my hard drive. Then it all came crashing down (literally) when I lost the majority of them. I felt physically ill at all of the photos I would never see again, family get-togethers, holidays, etc. Of course I knew better..I should have been backing them up on another disk.  

 I called this photo "Sun Dogs." It was taken about seven years ago. It is a favorite of mine. 

 One problem with that word of advice is the ever-changing world of technology.  We went from saving everything to a floppy (remember them?), then to CDs. Then, of course, to flash drives.  Additionally, each succession of new computer changes to where the old equipment and programs of course will not work, then you are left with floppies and CDs that are useless and pictures you can no longer see. (And now the quantum computer has supposedly been invented. If that is true, then goodbye flash-drives too) Now the push is to save everything on “the cloud.” 

One problem I see with that is a matter of ownership. I like to own my photos. I like to actually see a picture that is tangible, you can put in a frame or in your wallet, or in a box for that matter, to save for posterity. Sending your photos to an outside source may be riskier than you realize as you have to be able to access your photos on a system that may or may not be available when you need it to be. Then the question is what do you really own once you put it on the cloud as your access can be limited at their discretion, not yours.  And when that system crashes, what happens to your photos then?  

When photos are saved only to computers and clouds, they are just one binary bit away from oblivion. 

These are photographs of my great-grandparents (upper left), grand-parents wedding photograph (upper right), my paternal grandfather and father when he was a boy (lower left), and my parents and an aunt (lower right). 

Since Joseph Nicephore Niepce invented the Camera Obscura in 1827, printed photographs have stood the test of time. They are the one media that has endured unchanged for over 150 years. Is there anything more haunting than visiting a museum and looking into the eyes of person that lived almost 200 years ago or of someone no longer with us? I, for one, do not want the future generations to miss out on those pieces of history that my generation has taken for granted. For more information on the history of photography, visit

One thing we can do is to print out some of the important photos in addition to saving them on our hard drives, flash drives or online sites. 

A nice way to display some of those printed photos is to create photo collages and of course scrapbooks and frames of course. has some really nice formats for making photo collages out of your uploaded photos. They can then be put on cards, cups, wall hangings, and even phone cases. The wall hangings have  the look of a painting, which I found to be really neat. 

Besides taking photos of my family at the holidays and other memorable events, I like to take pictures of flowers in bloom and when natures permits, photos of the little critters and creatures that inhabit my neck of the woods (Western Michigan along the lakeshore). I will be sharing more of my photos here soon.  If you would like to share them with others, please do. I just ask that you note the source of the picture and an acknowledgement.  Thank you for letting me share my take on photographs with you-Marie

Family collage

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