Digital Doesn’t Have to Mean Ephemeral

Digital Doesn’t Have to Mean Ephemeral


While I do hang on to this fear that we may be leaving future generations bereft when it comes to family histories due to the bad habits we are developing with our digital memories, I also revel in the technology for other reasons.

So much has changed in this industry with regard to consumer behavior over the last decade-plus, but what has struck me the most is how much more people are enjoying image/video capture and sharing than we did back in the day.

While I have always sounded the horn for the “printed” image, I have to say the way sharing and the overall value we place on images has changed today is truly astounding. I’ll take a recent trip I made with my family to a local park as a perfect example to illustrate this. While this excursion never would have warranted lugging an old camcorder along, my wife captured a funny (thankfully not harmful) fall from a tire swing my son experienced. The 30-second clip was captured with the video mode on DSC and subsequently uploaded to Facebook and generally e-mailed here and there over the next couple of days.

Moments similar to these that used to become part of the hours of useless footage we all recorded years ago on video were always lost amid the clutter. Today we are capturing moments like these—30-60 seconds long—and sharing them with hundreds of family and friends immediately and soaking in the feedback. They have life almost immediately after they are captured and often times take on a life of their own. That’s an important fact to note.

The same thing is happening with our stills. Yes, many are entering cyber never-never land on computer hard drives, but many others are making their way to social networks, online gallery sites, hitting the e-mail circuit or being transmitted wirelessly for sharing.
I know we’ve all been lamenting the depressing equation that is telling us billions of images are being captured every year but only a small faction of those are being recirculated as prints and/or photo gifts. That tide will turn, in much the same manner it did when consumers first began using digital cameras but didn’t know what to do once they filled the card or internal memory.

They sure do now and though, in some instances, imaging retail is being left out of the equation, as consumers continue to delight in sharing their images and telling their life stories, those that are touched by those stories will want more than just an image on screen by which to cherish them. That “life” I mentioned earlier is not relegated to cyberspace alone, of that I am certain.  

Just as my son brushed himself off and got back on that tire swing, so too will this industry and the ride will continue to get better and more exciting as the years roll along.