Tuesday, April 19, 2016


Recently a friend and I had a conversation about the death of our history.  The deleting of our lives.  There was a time when we stored the story of our lives in shoeboxes in the back of the closet and occasionally we would drag those boxes out to share, to remember, to laugh, to explain, to compare, and mostly, to pass on to the next generation their history.  How many times have I pulled out a picture of my children to show to their children what their mommy or daddy looked like when they were their age.  This is what your dad looked like when he lost his first tooth.  Here's a picture of your mommy in her dance recital costume when she was four years old.

But no more.  We are digital now and there's a delete button.  While digital photographs are much easier to take with a telephone or camera and so very much less expensive because we no longer have the pictures developed at the pharmacy and have to pay for a whole roll of what we can now delete, we are also deleting the crowd shots at the birthday parties.  The shots where old Uncle Joe is in the background telling a joke to the other guys, like he always did, but we forgot about till we see that picture.   I recently read an article about an old crowd shot of soldiers at Gettysburg and is that really Abraham Lincoln waaaayyyyy in the back on horseback?  If so, it's the ONLY photo we have of him on horseback?

We keep photos on our computers until the computer crashes and we lose them all (I know, I know, there's something called a cloud.)  We keep them on the phone in our back pocket until the file is full, then we scroll through and deletedeletedelete to make room for the yet again, selfie.

We are raising a generation who will on one more level think they are it.  There was nothing before them, no record of grandma because she was the one who took all the family photographs, no record of great grandpa, nothing to compare those eyes to.

Yes, some people have some photos developed through online services and some even have yearly books made for their grandchildren.  I think those books are fantabulous.  An incredible record of the child's life.  But the pictures are usually only of the child.  You don't get the 'oops' shots, you don't get the crowd, you don't get the spontaneity in those books because you were so very careful to choose only certain photos.  You also don't have them developed to hang on the refrigerator.

Have you noticed....and I am just as guilty....we no longer pass around a pack of pictures, we pass around the phone or camera.  And when the camera or phone fill up, deletedeletedelete.

As a person who values history, family everyday life history, this makes me very sad.


  1. As someone who has shelves of photo albums, I hear you....I find managing digitial photos very difficult for some reason...as you say changes in technology or disc space force us to make quick decisions that we may regret later. Alex from
    Family Tree Frog

  2. Nice thoughts Denise. My fridge is full of photos of my whole family

  3. I am someone who can sit down with ANYone and look at old photos--you know, the 40s,50s, 60s ones--and not get bored one. single. bit. You've just made me decide to collage some of the photos I got when Dad died. Love this.