When you think back to your surroundings growing up; your bedroom, living room, what do you remember? The furniture? The patterns on the walls and floor? I remember photos. Some of them probably still hang in a hallway in my parents’ house. They are my family. Me, grandparents, cousins. I wouldn’t have forgotten about those people had the photos not been there. Well, maybe a couple of them. But the photos helped cement in my mind just how important family was to us. What do your walls say about you now?
My kids are growing up in the screen age. Their photos are on Instagram, Google Drive, hard drives. The ubiquity of glowing pixels and endless streams of content everywhere makes it hard to assign a value to select images. And less likely that you’ll find any adorning the walls in our homes.
For Mother’s Day, I compiled all the photos of my kids with their grandmother in the last year and made a calendar for her. I stopped at 200. With that kind of abundance, is each one still as valuable as the single snapshots that hung in my childhood bedroom? Maybe. I print them anyway.
I hang little galleries in their bedroom and one in the hallway. Some are recent, others are a decade old or more. I rearrange them when they’re knocked off the wall in epic boy battles. They don’t notice them. But they know they’re there. The people in them are more important than those floating by in Facebook feeds. And they’ll remember them later.
As a population, we take more pictures than ever before in history. It’s easier and less expensive to print them than it’s ever been. But we make fewer. I think that makes each one more valuable.