Hey Son, I Found a Picture of Your Grandpa!
The other day, I was scrolling through Facebook, which I admit I do way too often, when I saw a meme that I am going to call “Family Photos: Then vs. Now”.
It is a composition of two photographs. The first is a black and white photograph of a man sitting on top of a motorcycle. He looks like an awesome dude; fearless and ready to take on whatever life has to throw his way. The second photograph is a selfie that was taken on a cell phone with that snapchat filter that turns you into a dog. Thankfully, he is not sticking his tongue out to lick the screen!
Above each photo, it is captioned “Hey son, I found a picture of your grandpa!” However, one is labeled 2018 and the other 2060, bringing to the juxtaposition the idea that “our future is doomed.”
I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this meme since I saw it in my feed.
Looking Through My Family's Old Photographs
It has reminded me of my own grandfather and how every so often he will bring out a stack of photographs from his box of memories which illustrate his stories of when family members came to visit him, the cars he used to own and about his time while serving in the Vietnam War.
I have always been fascinated by his photos because it was like seeing him in another world that I would never get to experience. When I was in college, I decided to reprint some of those photographs using the gum bichromate process that I was learning in my alternative photographic printing class at San Jose State University.
He doesn’t talk about his time in the war very often, but as soon as I showed interest in utilizing the photos for a book that I was making, he started telling me even more stories about the people who were in the pictures I got to learn about some of his experiences while stationed in Germany and a lot about his friends that he made and played basketball with while he was there.
The Issue with Digital Images
Because of this meme, I started to think about my grandpa's box of photographs and the way those pictures shaped my perspective of him. It made me question whether the quality of those photographs would change the way I envisioned him in anyway.
Honestly, I don’t think the issue with our current photographs is quality as the meme might suggest, but instead, over-saturation. When using film, photographers are generally more intentional with the way they take photos. They only have so many frames on a roll and they want those frames to be good quality and worthy of printing. However, with digital cameras, we can take a hundred shots, if not more, of the same thing hoping for the perfect one to post on social media.
Open up the photo gallery on your phone and tell me, how many times did you retake your latest selfie before you deemed it acceptable to be posted on Instagram?
Now, what are the chances of you actually printing that selfie and giving it life outside of the digital world?
The oversaturation of pictures in our society today hasn’t necessarily changed the value that family photographs have. In fact, I would even go as far as saying that it has strengthened our desires to preserve the memories we make.
The accessibility to digital photos has actually made photographing everyday life easier so we take pictures of all the details in our lives, from the food we eat to the selfies that prove we went to the gym.
We can all take all the pictures in the world with our cell phone, and that’s okay. The problem with the oversaturation of photographs is that the digital files never leave our cell phones or hard drives!
Keeping Your Memories Safe From the Digital Black Hole
I started Caitlyn Lunsford Photography for just that reason. I am here to provide your family with archival quality photographs that you will be proud to show your grandchildren someday. I have chosen some of the best materials in the industry to print your memories on to make sure they last for generations.
Just imagine sitting on the couch while your granddaughter sits next to you, flipping through a photo album filled with pictures of your family inside. A smile beams across her face because she knows that she is looking at a picture of her mommy when she was a little girl. Everyone says the two of them have the same eyes and this picture is proof.
After finishing up a long day, you are walking through the hallway headed to the bedroom when you notice a canvas of you with your children. Your heart flutters a bit as you remember how little they used to be, before they moved out of the house. This photograph brings you joy because it reminds you of the times they would cuddle with you on the couch under a warm blanket.
Or maybe you are like my family and prefer to keep your precious memories in a box that you can take out of the closet every now and then when it’s time to take a trip down memory lane. You sift through the boxes contents and the memories flood back as if they were yesterday. Your grandchildren are visiting so you show them a snapshot of your past and they sit, soaking in your words as you tell them stories, like i did with my grandfather.
It doesn’t really matter which products you prefer as long as the photographs are printed. Some people may think that our future is doomed because there is photographic evidence of our crazy antics unlike in the past, but I don’t think that is the case.
If we take the initiative to print our favorite photographs, I’m sure, in the future, our past will look just as awesome as the man with his motorcycle on the left side of the meme.
There might be a few remnants that show off our crazy antics from the snapchat days, but how many embarrassing pictures are going to survive hard drive crashes and cell phone replacements anyway?