A Life in Photos: Preserving our Legacy as it Happens

Until modern times, storytelling either verbal or written, has been the only way to pass down family history and lore. The inventions of audio recording, still cameras, film and video technologies in the 19th and 20th centuries have allowed us to tell, record and share with our own voice and likeness. These methods have revolutionized not only the way the stories are told, but also how they are shared and how they can be preserved.

Fast forward to the early 2000’s with the advent of digital technology and mobile devices. We now hold in the palm of our hand the ability to preserve history and personal stories as they unfold, and share them immediately with the whole world, or at the very least with Grandma on the other side of the country.

What are you preserving?

For each of us, the answer will be as different as we are unique.  In broad strokes however, we all preserve more or less the same things. They include milestones (weddings, births, graduations, birthdays), day-to-day (sports, activities, funny moments, get-togethers) and new to the gamut–  selfies.

Although they are fun to look at immediately and share on social media channels, it’s worth more than a moment to think about why you are preserving these moments. Years from now, how many of the tens of thousands of digital files you took will you be willing to sift through to find a memory’s defining moment? Do you have storage and filing systems that will enable you to find what you’re looking for? Will scrolling through hundreds upon hundreds of thumbnails become the future equivalent to Uncle Bernie’s slideshows of the 80’s?

© Lisa Tower

© Lisa Tower

Setting Your Intent

It’s great to take numerous photos all the time, but it’s more manageable if you set an intention for each group of images. Take the time to promptly choose a folder name to properly archive  the event and the people in the shot. This will leave a rich photo and video legacy for your children and grandchildren, to jog the memory and act as story aids to explain who was there and what it was like.

Set up a Successful Photographic Legacy

Ever been puzzled or frustrated because you came across a series of old photographs in which you knew only one, or maybe none of the people in the image? Or perhaps there is a date or name but no details? Imagine your heir scrolling through (if they can make it through) all of your numerous digital images not knowing anything about them. Be mindful of every time you dump your CF and SD cards into a hard drive, or on the “cloud”.

Taking the time to print your photos, label them digitally or on the back, and file them in an album or within a digital system. This will not only help you out when you’re looking to pull out the ‘Karen having a bath in the sink’ image for her wedding montage, it will also help you build the story of your family to share with future generations.

Our next blog post will provide suggestions on how to set up a successful photo and video legacy.