We’ve probably all experienced this; our precious camera phone is telling us that the memory is full and we need to free space. Unfortunately, getting more space for your photographs costs more money whether it’s a bigger hard drive or additional space on a cloud that you go for. (Bigger hard drive typically means buying a new phone, too). As a person past my mid 30s, this type of a problem puts me in a challenging position, because I want to store up my photographs – they carry priceless memories. That said, being a person that grew up dealing with photography the old and slow way seems to still affect my way of thinking.


Compared to today, the time of film photography was technically very different not the least concerning the speed of the whole process. Ultimately, the most exciting moment was getting the freshly developed photos from a one-hour photo shop. I remember usually putting the photos first in my bag and really taking the time to go through the results later. This would take place in a café or for example on the beach. It was a special moment going back in time through printed photographs – one at a time.

As I’ve done quite a lot of research concerning snapshot photography and its function as maintaining memories and in a way of reliving past moments, it has come as a bit of a surprise to me that this function is devaluing. Respectively, the function of communicating with photographs has increased and brought with it the nature of presence and transiency (life is here and now). Some recent studies among youngsters show that many teenagers are less attached to their camera phone’s digital photo collection. Photos are taken and consumed like fast food. It’s practically free of charge and its ubiquitous (everywhere all the time). This nature makes individual snapshots less unique. For modern youngsters, being raised in the age of digital photography, having a camera at disposal from the moment they’ve got their first phone and using photos first and foremost as tools for communication makes this all seem very reasonable.


In conclusion, it seems to be that teenagers are ready to erase photos with less stress than the older generations. This puts me in a tight situation. I really have to consider whether I’ll ever browse through the thousands and thousands of digital snaps, or are they there just to fill up my hard drives. Anyhow, saving the photos will at least give me the option to go through them in 20 years. Live the moment – past is past and how valuable is (a) memory?


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