While never one for New Year’s resolutions, 2024 came with a promise – to do something about the thousands upon thousands of photos living inside my phone.
While we’re all taking more photos than ever before, preserving them for posterity has become another matter entirely and one that for almost a decade I’ve been ignoring.
Memory collecting got off to a strong start. But in the last few years as the kids have got a little older, lives busier and those big ‘milestones’ have stretched further apart, so has my commitment to logging family life.
Rather like the baby books that you fill out enthusiastically for the first year – or the first child – before a lack of sleep and more to do leaves you doing nothing but guessing as to when the second or third-in-line took their first steps, or what their first words were.
Which brings me to more than 15,000-plus images inside a virtual photo album and not a clue where to start. (And if you think that’s bad, a friend has 44,000 iPhone photos and counting.)
I’m also of course at the stage where among the big occasions – birthdays, holidays, first days at school – are umpteen screen grabs of everything from my dinner to a missing sock, which makes me even less inclined to kick-start the job.
Not least because I probably must cull at least 12,000 images to give myself a fighting chance of these snaps ever seeing the light of day?
It’s not that our masses of digital images are any less meaningful – they absolutely have their place. But whether we treasure them in the same way - I’m not sure?
As families become more spread – busier – and get together less often, there’s nothing more wonderful than being able to share huge moments instantly with those we love.
A nephew’s first steps; a new grandson’s first tooth; a friend’s child’s first day of school on the other side of the world – joining momentous occasions in seconds can make us feel more connected.
And yet - such unmanageable volumes of digital images now also risks me disconnecting my children from their past?
The irony is, I love still being able to turn the sticky, plastic, slightly-yellowing pages of old family albums. Where I can point out to my offspring relatives they’ve never met, houses they've never set foot in, from times they’ll never understand.
Now obviously I know there are apps for such things. But I’ll be honest – the thought of trying to organise, resize and lay-out thousands of photos into books doesn’t fill me with excitement. Just dread.
Laziness, apathy..call it what you will.
So tell me – does anyone use good old fashioned photo albums anymore?
Or are my 15,000 photos forever destined to sit on a virtual cloud until my children’s childhoods become nothing but a distant memory?