Will today’s photos be here in 50 years?

Published 9:08 am Thursday, July 2, 2015

Despite all of the modes of communication we have and all the records we create today, it sounds as if things might be pretty dismal for those future descendants who will want to find us.

All of my children and grandchildren have devices that record pictures at the drop of a hat. A phone, an electronic tablet and a digital camera, all take great pictures.

But when we share them we are looking at a small screen, passing it around and then its gone. Will those pictures be around in 50 years? I doubt it.

It kind of reminds me of the slides that those of my generation revered. A picture taken with a camera was made into a slide that was used in a projector. Shown on a big movie screen they were pictures reminiscent of the events captured on film. But where are they now?

When grandma died no one wanted the slides, but if you did get the slides you needed a projector and big movie screen. Once it was set up and you looked at them all, they were put back in their boxes, put in a closet and probably never seen again.

But printed pictures can be put into an album, looked at periodically and shared with others. However those pictures are only useful in the future if you identify the people, the occasion and the year or date they were taken.

Along with these albums it will be useful for the future if a family tree is created.  For many families today that is difficult because of blended families.

That is one of the reasons it is more important than ever for families to try to make a record of their extended family.

The nuclear family of a mom and dad and two children is no longer the norm. Many kids now have several sets of parents and grandparents and a variety of siblings. It is important for the future to have some record of this.

Another detriment that I see is the cremations that have taken place with no records of where the cremains are.  If the ashes are scattered to the winds, there usually is no record of where they have gone.

Time to think about it now before it is too late. These are topics that no one wants to talk about but they are important issues.

So get those cameras out, take family pictures, print them and label the events and people and make a family tree. Put them away in a safe place for the future.


Jo-Ann Boepple works at the Edwardsburg Area History Museum.