Preserving Photographs

A task in the OU/RPS Photography Course TG089 asks, “Will your great-grandchildren see your photographs? How will they have been preserved?”. This is my response.

Since 2006, I have uploaded over 30,000 photos to online repositories, mostly Flickr. Only a very few of my images have ever been printed, mostly because they are of only transient or marginal interest to anyone except me. I don’t curate much of my work and think that a new image is only of passing interest: photos I post online gather a few “likes” over a day or so then fade into internet oblivion. I do carefully back up RAW files and some of the JPGs I create to a USB disk, “just in case”. Of what, I don’t think I really know.

Ultimately, all memory will be lost: it is futile to deny that.

He picked up a pebble
and threw it into the sea.

And another, and another.
He couldn’t stop.

He wasn’t trying to fill the sea.
He wasn’t trying to empty the beach.

He was just throwing away,
nothing else but.

Like a kitten playing
he was practicing for the future

when there’ll be so many things
he’ll want to throw away

if only his fingers will unclench
and let them go.

“Small Boy” – Norman MacCaig

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