I had a big surprise today when I sat down at the computer in my home office… I had to scan a signed document to create PDF version and my scanner is hooked up to my spare laptop in my home office. As I went to power on the computer, nothing happened! At first I though the power strip was turned off and as I continued to troubleshoot, I determined something was very wrong. After working on this new crisis for some time, troubleshooting and testing, the verdict was in….blown mother board! This is actually the second time I have had the motherboard fail on me with this particular computer. I buy only top-end Dell workstation class laptops and still the complete failure.
If I had priceless photos stuck on this computer a sense of panic would have swept over me. Sure I could hire a recovery service but would it work? Should I leave this to chance? As a photographer I often speak to clients about the power of physical prints, but it’s not until moments like these that you can really appreciate it. This current generation is one of the most photographer generations in history, yet many people have no physical prints to show for it.
Archival prints can last for several generations. Digital media is in fact transitory in nature and has no guarantees for permanency. The only guarantee with digital media is that someone will come up with something better in a few years.
When it comes to images of your loved ones, you can currently save the photos onto a CD, or perhaps onto your phone, but what happens next? When your phone breaks or you upgrade to the latest model many will forget about those old photos. In my lifetime, I have seen the rise and fall of the cassette tapes and it’s replacement the Compact Disc. Did you know both Apple and Dell are not including CD drives in their new computers in favor of flash media. What happens in 10 years when the next new thing come out?
Photography is for the future and only increases in value as time goes on. A properly printed portrait will last a lifetime and will never blow a mother board or become obsolete. In fact prints that are given a place of honor in the home are enjoyed daily and can be passed down to future generations. Next time you are going to put a CD of photos into a drawer somewhere, consider the future, and print your photos while that CD is still readable.