Photo Albums: Why CDs should be scratched.

I don’t own a DVD player.

True.  I’m not tech savvy or an early adopter.  I just don’t have any need for a DVD player.  My computer is a MacBook Air and does not even have a DVD slot.  My TV is equipped with all kinds of fancy stuff that gives me unlimited access to movies and TV programing.  I can get the same programming on my iPhone and computer should I want to watch something on a tiny little screen.  I have buttons for Video on Demand, Blockbuster On Demand, Amazon Movies, Hulu and Netflix.  I can even download a number of exercise videos whenever I want at no cost.

This got me thinking about all the people who have their precious wedding images on a DVD or CD.  How about those that have CD’s that are 10 years old? You and I both know they have probably never made an album.  My bet is that most could not even tell you were it is. The result:

Their parents’ generation will have a beautiful record of their wedding in an album, but this generation won’t.  I think that’s pretty sad.

I remember when video cameras became a staple of parenting.  Got a crib, got a camera, recorded every moment of the child’s life…on video tape.  Those tapes are in a box somewhere, probably nicely labeled.  But how will the parents play them?  The hours upon hours of tape are destined to collect dust.  They could be digitized, but most won’t even think of that, or spend the money.  They will remain childhoods lost.

Technology can be a great thing.  More images can be shared more easily than ever before.  Phones provide everyone with an always-on camera and, now, video capture.  These phones also put us inside Syria.  They record a meteor strike, accidents, earthquakes, hurricanes and crimes in progress.  They have allowed more than a few men to behave badly and a lot of teenage girls to have serious regrets.  They provide us with endless hours of cute cat videos and glimpses of what friends worldwide are having for dinner.  Thank you, my life will be better for having both. They also bring families closer together and let me instantly share ideas with associates at Seldex in Australia.  I can enjoy a friend’s wedding as it happens and see a new baby just born.  There are sunsets the world over, cityscapes, waterscapes and landscapes to make me see the peace of a planet.  All good things.

But what there isn’t is the true beauty: the color, the depth, the realism, the magic, and the skill of a professional photographer.  Images that flow with emotion, enough to make you cry, or laugh, or both.  Families that smile back at you from their place in a home, and love that jumps from the pages of a wedding album.  That innate quality that images, well presented, provide.

Images viewed on a flat screen are just that, flat.  The life with which they should be imbued fails to be realized.

PHOTOGRAPHERS: DO NOT LET YOUR CRAFT DIE.  The photographic history of a family, of our world, is one the things we hold most dear.   Media comes and goes: 78’s, 33.1/3, and 45’s, 8mm. 16mm, 8-Track, Cassette, VHS, CDs, DVDs and now USB Flash Drives.  All gone in a very short period of time.  What will come next, no one knows; but what will always stay is the photographic image, preserving a treasured moment for all time.  Something we can view in a museum, hang on our walls, place in our bedrooms and set on our coffee tables.  Something that remains when everything around it changes.

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