The Digital Era - Intangible Memories

June 10, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

The internet and the digital camera have both completely changed the way people, see, manage and cherish souvenirs. Either photos from a memorable trip, family gathering and special events, millions of images are taken every day and a very small percentage is printed.

Digital images are intangibles, they have no substance and depend 100% on a device to be viewed. These are totally machine dependent, worst technology dependent; this means short live. A recent study shows that in average a digital image, over a one year period, is viewed less than 5 seconds in average while a print that is hanging on a wall or a shelf is viewed for 40 - 60 minutes. The generation Z was born in the digital age, the all free media sharing of images, music and movies. Every minute of their live they have an electronic device attached to their body so they can text, do face time and take a lot of photos. This is the most photographed generation with the least printed images.

In a recent publication by the International Photographic Association shows that over 7 trillion images are taken in a year. 20 years ago that number was about 15 millions. The world is flooded with images of all kind and all quality.  People are losing millions of images every day, that’s technology at work. What has been lost is that it’s not the quantity but the quality of the image that has value. By quality I mean, the moment, the canvas that is hanging on the wall when the entire family was together which is rare these days because family members are living in different states or country.

I recently did a family photo session where the entire family was together for the first time, in a long time, including the grand parents whose health was deteriorating quickly. A few months after the session, the grandfather passed away. Here what one of the family member wrote: Family reunion, family photography, family souvenirsLast Family ReunionPhoto taken a few weeks before the grand-father passed away The beach pictures that you took are the only pictures of the entire family that we have. It’s such a special memory now. I am so glad that we got the large canvas. It now hangs prominently in our home and is a great reminder of a great man. Had you not been so accommodating and thoughtful of their issues and conditions in working with us, we would have never been able to capture that moment.” Bert M.

It takes only one photograph to change the world. It takes only one moment, a precious one that most often people realize its full value long after the fact. Just look at the family photos that are in your parents or grandparents album somewhere and you will have this warm feeling. Only a printed photograph can do that because it’s tangible and can be read by human, you don’t need a device. It’s tangible,  it preserved memories for ever.

Jean-Marie Cote

Thefrenchguy photography


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