When I was a child, my dad and his family were all ‘serious’ amateur photographers and one uncle was a professional photographer. As I was the first grandchild on this side of the family there is a massive collection of photos and slides, all showcasing my childhood cuteness. About 10 years ago, our Christmas family gathering began to include a slide show of family pictures. Over time, the slide show went digital and we added video as well.
My grandparents have and had albums full of photos. My mom recently started to go through her collection of albums as well. Old brown and orange-flowered albums, creased plastic page covers, and pictures with dates in the bottom corner written in blue ink; Florida trip, 1976; or Christmas, 1981. There was an album of me and of each of my brothers and I remember sitting in a warm sunny spot in the living room on wintry Sunday afternoons, looking at pictures of us.
On my parent’s last visit, my mom brought along a box of photos for me and my brother to divide. I looked at the pile of photos apprehensively. I had no idea what I was supposed to do with them. Scan them? Make a photo book? Put the box under the bed?
We don’t have photo albums of our kids. We never even get as far as having photos printed. The pictures sit in our iPhoto drive and show up as screens savers on our computers and our AppleTV. My son can scroll through the photos on the iPad in between games of Angry Birds.
Now, when we take pictures of the kids, they barely stand still long enough for us to click the button and then they run up, “Can I see? Let me see!” They have no idea what “film” is and we no longer have the need to wait for just the right shot. We document activities endlessly and then watch ourselves on slide shows as soon as we get back inside.
So what am I saying? Just that it’s a different world when it comes to taking pictures of your children. And also that maybe it’s time to do something with our ridiculously huge digital folder full of photos.