Is the Photograph finally dead?

Is pouring over the family album going to be a thing of the past for future generations?

Martha Ann Barnes

There is nothing I like more than looking back at old family photos, whether they are my own and my immediate family, or pictures from my ancestors from generations ago. Even my own children still love looking at pictures from their own childhood, they are 26 and 23 now, but we still often sit as a family and reminisce over family photos and holidays from way back then.

I also have a collection of photos from my own childhood from the 1960’s and these hold precious memories for me now, as I am sure your pictures and albums do to you.

Me and Nan

Family Group Butlins


So what of the future, will families continue to look at older pictures in the future?

We live in a digital age where everything is captured in an instant, every moment captured and even filtered for us, if we feel the need.

If we don’t like the image it can be instantly deleted and we can snap again, until we have the perfect shot.

Will it have the same feel, looking through an Instagram folder or Facebook photo album? Will it evoke the same nostalgic memories? Or am I just getting old and trying to hang onto the past a little longer??

Don’t get me wrong, all the imaging software and social media sites make it so much easier to share with friends and family all over the world, your daily lives, something I could have only dreamt about as a child, but are we going to lose the “printed” image soon forever?

I hope not.

I hope that there is a place for the photograph, just as much as the digital image and that the generation today, realise the importance of capturing images for those that follow.

It will be a sad day when all we are left with is Instagram, snapchat and a Facebook album!

Please see my blog for Family Tree Magazine Here


12 thoughts on “Is the Photograph finally dead?

  1. Even as a child i loved old photos. Mother kep them in an old handbag and i was always pleading to look at them on a wet Sunday afternoon. Now i am keeper of the photos. Sadly, a lot of my colour photos from late seventies are turning funny colours (must of been the chemicals used in those early days) and so my mission is to,scan them before its too late. But i agree, looking thru the old albums is full of nostalgia. Since starting my family history, i hv become more obsessed at finding people who have faces to my names. I live in hope. Unfortunately, my ancestors were pretty poor and so it seems photos and headstones were a luxury.


  2. I have 34 albums, many of them old and I cherish each one of them. I still print out the odd photo, but digital photos are kept on an external hard drive for safety. I have a family website on FB and share many photos there – quite a few are downloaded and shared with others. No, the printed photo is not dead.


      1. There is room for both and I’m sure future generations will enjoy looking back through albums or what we store digitally. By the time they get to them, they will be old photos and albums! As long as families hold together, remind each other of the importance of remembrance, the photos, albums whether printed or digital will be cherished.


    1. Margaret, hard drives – both internal and external – are prone to failure. Also, if there was a fire or flood you could lose them all. Please make sure you have at least three copies in different places. I would suggest as a minimum, one copy on the PC for immediate access, one copy on the external drive as first backup and one copy on cloud-based storage system such as dropbox, google drive, one-drive or similar. The other advantage of the cloud storage is that you can easily share them with friends & family.


      1. I’m way ahead of you – My albums are stored in safe containers – digitals on four different drives, not all are here with me. Once in awhile, I send new photos to my son who puts them on his external drive, computer and flash drives. A computer crash a few years ago cost me almost a thousand photos, only a few were retrievable. A hard lesson to learn, but I did learn, the hard way!


  3. We don’t have many photos and I’ve always hoped that my family tree research will help me find new old family photos. I think the traditional photograph will endure. Online photo resources are handy and will no doubt become important to the future, as long as one’s life is not selfie after selfie!!


  4. I’m in agreement with you. There’s something special and comforting about actual photographs. I still make photo albums and my 2 year old loved them so much that I made her her own little album recently. She enjoys turning the pages and pointing out people she knows. It’s just more fun than looking at a screen.


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