Photographs and Memories

Recently my sister Michaela ( ) sent me a scanned image of an old photograph she found in a (proverbial) shoebox in some attic. The photograph was taken about 1963. It shows me (about 7) and her (about 3) in front of the house where we lived. They were still doing construction in the yard, hence the cement mixer behind me. 


In the decades past, photographs ended up in boxes in attics, closets, dressers and under beds, where they rested safely in the dark, just to be found by ourselves or by some descendents after many years.  

I do not believe that today’s digital images, resting on laptops and on backup drives, will share the same fate. Forty years from now there will not be any way to read a USB hard drive with JPG files on a Windows computer. Even if the hard drive were still operable, it would be as alien as an IBM punch card is today. Try to read one of those! 

We won’t be able to use our hands and eyes and rummage through a box or an old photo album. Our immense treasure of billions of photographs will eventually vanish, and very little of the treasures will pass on to future generations.  

Thirty years ago I wrote my journals in hard cover notebooks. Today I type them into files on the computer, or worse, on this blog, where my thoughts are stored in some server farm located somewhere on the planet, until a business catastrophe like the collapse of Enron results in the server farm being shut down – with all my thoughts, my photographs and my memories.

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