Drowning in digital dreams

Isn’t the digital camera a wonderful thing? Remember the days when you had to limit your photography to 24- or 36-shot portions? Each shot had to be carefully considered. You might run out too soon and miss vital moments. Printing the pictures was expensive, and remember the resentment when you found you’d paid for one that was obliterated by light leaking into the camera, or leaving the lens cap on?

These days you can click away to your heart’s content, capturing fleeting moments. We can create massive archives from which to select the one that’s ‘just right’.
As you sit down to sift your way the 600 plus pictures you fired off at Bob and Jean’s golden wedding bash, or the 3,000 shots you brought back from your holiday of a lifetime, do you feel a mild panic? Perhaps a little nostalgia for the self-editing nature of celluloid and print?

Once you’re selected the 50 or so images that you really want to keep, how do you store them or display them? Backing them up on CDs and DVDs seems a good idea, but how often are you going to fire up the computer to look at them? In future, will your children and grandchildren be able to look at them? You’ve backed them up on electronic storage device – say, a DVD or Flash drive – so they should be safe, shouldn’t they? Wrong. The media may well last a century, but the device for playing it may be long gone. (I must remember to move the electronic slideshow I did of my daughter’s wedding from a DVD to my hard disk before… oh, hang on, too late… my new laptop doesn’t have a DVD drive.)

What happened to those things we got off a shelf? They were interactive. You could flick through to wherever you wanted. You didn’t need electricity. Ah yes – photograph albums.

There’s one potential answer in self-publishing. Don’t be put off by it sounding rather grand. It’s a relatively simple and inexpensive way to make a book (or two) of your favourite memories. Websites ‘Lulu’ and ‘Blurb’ guide you step-by-step through the process, providing templates and making it as easy as possible to produce a good looking book. Once you press the ‘Publish’ button your book will be winging its way to you in a few days.

So, instead of all those pictures languishing in a folder on your computer somewhere, you can have a selection of beautiful books on your shelf. Books of memories.

I can’t wait to start my library. ‘My recipes’, ‘Last summer with our dog’, ‘Best hotels for long weekends’, and ‘Summer holiday with Granny and Grandpa’. That last one will have to wait until we actually HAVE grandchildren, but I’m looking forward to it!