The Digital Era is Stealing Your Family Memories

Something really hit hard tonight, and I’m not talking about my children. I was scrolling through old photos that I posted on Facebook while the kiddos were looking over my shoulder and I came upon an image of myself that I quite liked. It was a photo of my husband and I, before we were married, with the kiddos sitting in my lap in the middle of a park during winter. The boys, who are now in Kindergarten, had a bunch of questions about a photo they seemed fairly clueless about.

When did your hair used to look like that!?

Where did this snow come from?

When did we used to have those jackets?

It had occurred to me that only one year has passed since this photo was taken of the four of us sitting on a blanket of snow. My husband and I brought the kiddos to run around during our engagement session and couldn’t resist a photo with their sweet faces. What was once a fond memory of my family, can no longer be remembered by the boys.

And then it hit me.

Like a box of crayons.

The last 5 years of my life, those years that I treasured so much as a new mother, will mean nothing to my children. All of the laughter, the tears, the cuddles, the adventures, the play dates – were gone! As the boys approach the blossoming age of six, their memories are now starting to turn into something more concrete. Yet, some of the most precious memories that we have as a family are lost deep within their memory banks.

I’ve always wanted the boys to look back on our first years together with happiness and joy and yet they cannot remember some of the most important times of their lives. From building our first home to their first day of school, these memories are now beginning to fade, and it’s made me realize now more than ever how important photographs are.

As a professional photographer, I get paid to create tangible memories for clients and I am well aware of the intrinsic value of an image. Even as a professional photographer, I will admit that my clients come first and often times I am too burnt out for a family photo. Or worse, my standards have become too high, and I often delete that one out-of-focus photo that would have been a perfectly viable addition to my scrapbook otherwise.

I’ve come to realize that living in the moment is simply not enough. There is a lot of truth in the old adage that “time is precious”,  especially time well spent with our little ones. We live in a digital age where we spend more time on our phones than we do with our families. We are raising a generation of selfie takers, where life is lived through filters and photographs are rarely printed.

I cannot stress this enough to my clients: the value of a printed photograph far outweighs that of an image posted to social media. It always amazes me when I get emails from clients asking me to retrieve their digital photos a year later, because they failed to download them. Do we really rely on technology and social media so much that even our most precious memories are held within the confines of the internet?

By not printing our photographs, we are doing ourselves and our families a huge injustice. We are leaving our memories to die on Facebook or various other social media platforms where our little ones will probably never see them. These memories are not only ours to keep, but they are also the secret vault into the memory banks of our children. There is nothing more emotionally satisfying than rummaging through old photographs 20 years later to relive those happy memories that our parents and grandparents so thoughtfully collected for us.

Often times, printed photographs are the one thing we have left of our grandparents. Could you imagine if Facebook existed before our grandparents were born? All of the memories that we hold so dearly in a little box on a shelf, might have never existed. Our most cherished family memories might only exist on a Facebook or Instagram account that is no longer in use. How would we know where to find these images, let alone access them 20 years later? Don’t let the digital era steal your family memories. Print them!

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