For many years, I sorted, labeled and filed family photos during the month of January. These included snapshots we took, school pictures, and photos we received during the Christmas season from family and friends. I enjoyed this review of the previous year, and it took less than an afternoon. If my children care to keep them, these photos will be around to document our family life for a long time.
Now times have changed, and the photo preservation process has become a daunting journey into a digital netherworld. In addition to labeling and filing my prints, I must figure out how to scan them and where to store the digital files. On a hard drive that will fail in time? In the cloud with a service that might not be there in ten years? How do they pass to the next generation?
The same dilemma applies to those photos that never make it to print. I must figure out how to transfer them from the cell phone or digital camera to whatever storage place I select. I must wrestle with photo management software. I find it all much more time-consuming than it took to manage prints.
The digital age seems ideal for photo sharing but clunky for photo preservation. We take way too many photos to manage comfortably these days. As a genealogist, I am interested in keeping pictures for posterity, but how many do I need? I have no interest in posting 4000 pictures of my family on Facebook as I have heard that some people do.
I have not yet devised a workable digital age photo management system for my family in this new era. I will work on one this year and create a system that works for us. It is time to tame my photo mess.