Last weekend I went to a lovely memorial service held in the basement of a church. It was casual and warmhearted, befitting the man who died. Knowing only immediate family, I sat in the corner and observed the other guests. Scattered across the tables were photo albums. Everywhere I looked, people were looking intently at the pictures.
“This is the first picture with me in it,” said one man after turning several pages. “I remember this fishing trip,” said another. The whole afternoon, those albums were examined by people who were interested in reminiscing and learning even more about the man they knew.
If you have a high school graduate this year, what is the first thing you have to do to create a photo display or slideshow? If you answered “skim through digital photos and print them out” you can begin to see the difference in how we treat our photos today. We take more pictures than ever, but do not enjoy them the way we used to. Many people do not even know how to get their photos off their phones.
When we developed pictures from film, the prints filled many bulky photo albums which took up a lot of space. Today, digital photos can be printed in photo books in a variety of sizes. They take up less space, and often have a professional quality in their appearance. Group photos by date or theme in each book and you’ll always have a print version of your best photos to enjoy and share.
Studies show that children have a better sense of their place in the family when they have access to family photos. “Family stories give kids a sense of who they are and where they came from,” says Meg Lippert, Ed.D., director of storytelling for Learn with Homer, a reading app (https://www.scholastic.com/parents/family-life/social-emotional-learning/social-skills-for-kids/how-personal-stories-boost-kids-self-esteem.html). Readily available photos are great prompts for these stories.
Whether you scatter photo books around your house every day or put them out for special events (like the birthday party display shown in this blog’s main photo), make sure your pictures are available for people to look at and learn from. Don’t let them go unviewed on devices or lost in the hundreds (or thousands) of photos filed away on the computer!