Print your pictures. I don't think I ever say this often enough. It's why my Collections are 95% print products to 5% digital products. Computers crash. USB's get broken or lost. Technology ages and becomes obsolete. Prints will never disappear into the interwebs never to be seen again.
That being said, I am thankful today for what the internet brought into my life. It started out with an innocent conversation about a trip we may or may not be taking to Ireland. How my mother's mother's family came from there, and one of her uncles, somewhere along the way, has documented all that family history right down to pictures of the houses they lived in. So I mentioned if I could ever get a hold of that uncle's information (which, if he's still alive, would be well into his 80's at this point), it would take the trip to Ireland to a whole new level.
Through circumstances outside my control, I have lost contact with all my mother's family. And my mother passed away 8 years ago now. My pictures of her are quite limited and every one that turns up in my life, I treasure.
What a joy it was, then, when through my conversation about Ireland, my aunt pulled up my mother's family tree on Ancestry.com to see if she could track down this "Uncle Leo" and any information he might have. Within minutes, there was a picture staring back at me of a woman I knew. And she didn't change until the day she died. It was the face of my grandmother and grandfather. And I had never seen a picture of them so young.
But, family resemblance is strong, so I know my grandfather when I see him. I stared at this picture forever. It so striking to see a picture of them so young and happy. People you think you know everything about, and it turns out they had lives way before you ever showed up!
Then another picture popped up. My mother's senior picture. I hadn't seen that picture since I was a preteen and in my grandmother's home. She had the senior pictures of all 5 of her kids hanging in her living room in chronological order, even though those kids were in their 40's and 50's by that point.
I don't know what ever happened to the senior portrait that hung at my grandmother's house. She passed away just two months after my mother did, and if anyone got that picture, they never called me to ask if I would like it. For all I know, it ended up in a local landfill.
And then a third picture came up. I don't think a picture exists in my possession of my mother so young.
The cute little boy behind her was my favorite uncle, who also passed a few years ago.
This is not meant to be a sad tale of my family history. Merely, a reminder. Once these images were on my computer, I instantly sent them to the lab to be printed. They will not be the best quality. They are from an unknown source, and let's face it, photography from the 50's and 60's leaves a lot to be desired, quality wise. But by the end of this week, these pictures will again grace walls. My walls. They will be reminders of loved ones gone, but never forgotten. They will be reminders that they existed.
I do not tell you to make sure you print your pictures because I want to make more money off you. I tell you to print your pictures because it's very personal to me. Every picture is a treasure. They are so few and far in between, that everyone I find I stare at for hours. Remembering stories and laughter, tears and cups of coffee.
Everyone has a story. I am so thankful for every client that lets me in or a moment to capture theirs.