The Faceless Generation

I read an article the other day that was quite enlightening.
It was about the number of photos that are taken in this digital age and what the future may hold for them. It went on to examine the reasons that this generation may well become the ‘faceless’ generation.
As someone who cherishes the photos that she has from long ago and even from today, I shudder to think of a life without memories. Yet that is what is being predicted for most of the photos taken in this day and age.

Let’s look at it.
There are millions and millions of photos taken every day around the world. They are taken on phones and cameras and consequently shared on social media, blogs and websites. Sometimes, in order to free up space on our devices they are deleted. When we wish to share our captures with others, we upload them to social media or bring up the photo on our device and show the person on the LCD screen.
We back up our photos to external hard drives, DVD, CD, thumb drives and the Cloud.
Yet, we seldom print our photos out.

Technology is moving quickly and sometimes it fails us. Photos that were backed up to floppy disk are now no longer available. CDs and DVDs can corrupt and fail. Photos stored on phones can be lost.
When this happens, we lose our memories.

I have spent years collecting old family photographs and scanning them into my computer. Over the years as I have learned more, I have changed my methods of doing this. Sadly, many of the earlier photos that I collected from family and scanned are no longer able to be opened or are next to useless for use due to changing technology and my inexperience. I have to start over with many of them.
Add these old photos to the countless photos that I have collected from other family members and those taken by myself and you have a veritable treasure chest stored on my computer.

Currently, I back up to an external hard drive. I then back this hard drive up to another external hard drive. Many photos are also burned to CD and DVD.
However, I am the contradiction to the article as I print my photos out as often as possible.

Sadly, I am only up to 2009 with my family albums and it is a time consuming job putting them together. I also have countless scrapbooking albums filled with photos and memories. Every holiday (vacation) taken is made into a photo book with my travel diary typed out and printed along with the photos.
This year, I qualified for a free photo book every month from Snapfish. I missed the deadline for the January one but I am taking advantage of them now and my January 2015 album is on its way to me now.

Next on my agenda is the myriad of heritage photos that I have. I wish to put them into albums to be printed out to be shared amongst the family.
If there is one thing that I have discovered, it is that the kids love to look through books filled with photos. My grandchildren know where our albums are kept and will often ask me to get one out so that they can see Mummy when she was little or when they were babies themselves.
Just the other week, I had a traditional scrapbook album out and on the page I had listed all of the expenses involved with my daughter’s Grade 12 formal (I’d say it would be like a prom). We laughed as we went through the expenses and she loved that I had kept track of them.
I am so happy that I have something to pass on to my family but sadly there are many people out there who don’t.

So here is my advice on not becoming a faceless generation:

  1. Take the opportunity to print out your photos
  2. Make sure that names and dates are on the back of the photos
  3. Create photo books
  4. Ensure that details are included in the photo books such as who the photos are of, where they were taken, why they were taken, who else was there and anything else that you can think of. Many photobook companies have text options built into their software so that you can do this.
  5. Take up scrapbooking if you are creatively inclined
  6. Print your favourite photos onto canvases and hang them in your home
  7. Ensure that you have more than one back up source for your photos (or any photos that you have scanned)
  8. Take the time to scan old family photos and ask questions about who is in the photos and what was happening. Record this somewhere. If you can put these photos into a scrapbook or photobook.
  9. If you create standard scrapbook layouts, scan and stitch them and back them up as well.
  10. Ensure that sometimes you are in front of the camera rather than being the one behind it all the time.

I am passionate about not only photography but telling the story behind the photo. Sometimes it might be as simple as the photos we went out to take this afternoon of the sunset after the days of rain and the effects of a cyclone on our part of the world. Every person has a story to tell. Every photo has the opportunity to tell that story to the generations coming after. Don’t be a part of the faceless generation.

A Picture

36 thoughts on “The Faceless Generation

  1. I back up to the max Suz but I also print. I’d hate to lose my pics. The trouble is other than Lorelle I don’t think anyone else in the extended family is interested in them. 😦

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  2. I have boxes and boxes filled of the gajillion pictures I took of my twins when they were babies. But then, I stopped having them printed because I couldn’t find the time to get them into scrapbooks. Now I have pictures from the next 7 years in my computer and in the cloud and I do worry regularly that they aren’t “preserved” properly. I love the idea of printing photo books. I made one for my dad when we went to visit him, but didn’t think to create one for myself. Excellent idea!

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    1. I don’t print every single photo that I take in my photo books but I choose my favourites and those that tell the story of the day/occasion. I really do enjoy putting the books together.
      Maybe you could create a book for each of your children from birth through to now?


    1. I admit that I am ruthless with my photos when I download them and delete many that I think are not up to standard. The exception to this rule is family photos. I have some that have orbs of light in them or are slightly blurry but if they are the only record from an occasion then I will keep them.

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  3. I am a scrapbooker, but I must say I’m always behind.
    I recently divided all the not-scrapbooked photos into envelopes for each child, and labeled all the “old photos” so my grown kids will have a clue.
    I recently had the idea of transferring my social media photos to a drive and deleting most of them. It’s amazing how many more pictures I’ve taken since 2007 compared to before 2007. My MIL complains all the time about how she doesn’t have real pictures to show people, so I email plenty to her and then my FIL prints them off for her. But honestly, it’s so nice not to spend a fortune on photo prints all the time like we did with film.

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    1. I gave up paper scrapbooking some time ago (but I’m still to give up many of my supplies lol). I began digital scrapping and designing for stores a number of years ago. Most of my later books are done digitally. It is time consuming also but not as much as the traditional books.
      I don’t print all of my photos Joey. Just those that I like or I think tell the story of the occasion (or the day).

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  4. I think this is awfully good advice. And it’s something I’d been thinking about lately, as we bought a new computer and went through the whole process of downloading and saving tons of photos.

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    1. The trouble is, there is always the chance of one of our storage solutions failing so that is why I back up in multiple places. As devastated as I know I would be if I lost my photos, I don’t want to leave anything to change. I even back up my photo books. lol

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  5. It is scary the way our best plans for saving our photos are too soon out of reach of the new technology. I have a number of my photos saved on DVD’s thanks to my son and my son-in-law (and my own organizing). Most recently I pulled together photos of the semi-annual retreats my friends from college did every other year starting the year of my former husband’s wedding day. What a loving supportive group. We can no longer pull it off, and some of us are no longer around, but it’s a wonderful remembrance. I’ll have to keep my eyes out, though, for whatever will supersede DVD’s and be ready to pay someone to put them into the next newest format.

    I admire the work you are doing to save your memories.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We have a VHS video of the Teen’s ultrasound and some video footage that we took afterwards when she was a baby. We now need to find someone who can convert that for us.
      Thanks for your lovely compliment Mona.


  6. Saving family pictures can become very time consuming sometimes Sue.
    I find I am scanning pictures from various computer illiterate members of my family, what I was doing was creating a veritable photographic tree for everyone, a virtual geaneology system,way too much, so I let it ride, some pictures are kept but the modern day selfies are discarded.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I think this is great advice. I have one, single photo of my parents together shortly after I was born. It’s a Polaroid, and it’s denigrating fast. I therefore scanned it onto my phone and corrected some of the damage, but now I think I should then reprint it! This is something I don’t think about often, and I’m not even young! But young enough that printing photos is already sort of from the old days…

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