Digital Files Are Not Family Heirlooms

Digital photos are great fun for sharing online.  It’s a thrill to see all the likes and comments coming in and it’s a great way to stay connected to distant family and friends.

There is a trend however to want digital files only and no prints from professional photographers too.  While it's cheap and convenient for the photographer and provides instant gratification for the customer, I believe this is future heart-ache in the making.

Digital files quickly get buried on your computer or on facebook, never to be looked at again. We’re all happy in the knowledge that they are safe and secure if we do want to look at them later, but the reality might live up to this assumption.

The digital files you have now stand a fairly high chance of being lost in 50 or 100 years time – facebook may have gone bust and taken all its data with it, your iPad will certainly be dead, and even that USB stick you put in the safe probably only has a shelf life of a couple of decades. Even if it's not corrupt when you whip it out in 50 years time, will you be able to find something to plug it into? I'm pretty sure my dad has 5.25" floppy disks in the fire safe.  I wonder how hard / how expensive it would be to find out if there's anything still on those now, just 20 years later. 

I've had to think very carefully about reliable storage for Frankie and Friends, with a mirrored storage solution for the studio, and off-site backup. As secure as the Frankie and Friends storage is, you cannot rely on it for the really long term - I certainly won't be here in 100 years.

I can easily imagine this conversation taking place in 30 years time all over the world:
-“Mummy, can I see photos of you when you were little?”
+“Sorry sweetie, grandad just kept them all on facebook, so they're all lost now”
-“Whats facebook?”
+“It’s a website that went bust back in 2035, taking everyones photos with it”.

There’s no reason why a good quality print wall should not still be there, giving pleasure for several generations to come however, and it's a lot harder to misplace. Not to mention you get the pleasure of looking at it every single day.

Like I said at the start of this post, digital photos are great fun for sharing, and we really do want you to have them - that’s why we give them away free with every wall print.  We just want you to have something a bit more enduring as well.

When you buy a print for us, you are not just buying it for yourself, but for you children, your grandchildren, and great grandchildren – they are true family heirlooms.

RalphComment