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Mill Valley News

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Physical photographs made on film have longer lasting memories attached than digital images

With digital media and memories on the rise it is important to remember the significance of physical mementos
By Quin Peters

One of my favorite things is when my parents pull out the box of photo albums. I love learning the stories attached to photos of my mom as a child with a relative I never got to meet. Even the more recent photos my parents took on an old digital camera had this same effect. They would show me photos of my older brothers on vacation or visiting our grandparents. All these photos are worn, the pen written date on the back is smudged. The thing about it is that there are not many photos of myself. The ones there stopped once I reached around six years old.

This always made me sad because everything went digital when I was fairly young. People stopped getting photos printed, instead leaving them to sit in an album on their phone or a flash drive lost years prior.

To a point it’s understandable, as a blog from Elite Images said, “digital images can also be taken with you wherever you go.” Of course, digital photos can’t get water damage or suffer from faded colors but they are less personal. The physical aspect of printed photos is also something that I think should be appreciated more.

“Something so simple as holding a photo I had been waiting to see makes me see the beauty in the world.”

— JagWire reporter Hailey Perrin

Elite Images also said, “although our lives are becoming more and more online, we still exist in a tangible world and most of our important and immediate experiences happen in physical space. This gives printed photographs a more “real” nature,” which perfectly encapsulates how I feel about physical photos.

Having a physical memento that brings back memories is so much more valuable than anything digital. There’s this feeling that comes from holding a physical memory in your hand, a sense of heartwarming nostalgia. Even when the memories attached to a physical object are painful, a part of me knows that one day I may want to remember again so instead of deleting every text and photo out of a fit of rage or sadness I put photos and other items into a box.

Library of Congress blog author Bill LeFurgy had a similar idea, saying that it’s easy to forget digital mementos.

“My digital mementos, however, are hidden on machines and media,” LeFurgy said in the blog. “I have a vague sense of what’s there, and I have organized my files somewhat. But I’m hazy about the individual items, both because I only view them occasionally and because there are so many of them.”

However it is not easy to keep physical photos when we live in a more digital world then ever.  As far as photos go, one way I have started using is using a small printer. These gained popularity a year ago but have since largely faded out. Despite their fading, I believe they are genuinely a good idea, as one can even buy picture frames or photo albums.

Another way, although more expensive, is trying out film photography. I took up film photography around a year ago after using digital cameras my whole life and have never gone back. I found my camera for $40 at a random camera shop and was lucky enough to already have a lens that fit. Every photo I take with my camera feels more personal because every frame is forever. It cannot be deleted or altered. I don’t even know what it looks like until upwards of a week later. I take more time and care into taking pictures on film.

To get the photos from the film to my hand can be a bit of a process. First I have to buy film which can be found at Walmart or most photography stores. Then after the film is full I take it to a small shop where they develop the film in about a week. After I get it I’m able to flip through them all and find my favorites. With the physical copies I will then put them into a photo album or a picture frame. Some I even plan on reprinting to a larger format. I also get digital copies of all my pictures which I then post on Instagram to show my work.

When I’m holding a physical photo, I know that every frame has a unique story and every scratch in the print has a personality and is beautiful. Something so simple as holding a photo I had been waiting to see makes me see the beauty in the world that just can’t be found on a phone.

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About the Contributors
Hailey Perrin, JagWire reporter/photographer
This is junior Hailey Perrin’s second year on the JagWire staff. She is looking forward to another year of designing and some more exploring in writing and photography. Outside of the newspaper room she enjoys traveling, anything creative and photography. If she is not doing one of those things she will be with her friends having the time of her life.
Quin Peters, JagWire reporter/photographer
This is sophomore Quin Peters’ first year on the JagWire staff. She will be exploring the roles of writer and designer for the newspaper this year. Outside of school, Quin crochets, reads, writes creatively and is involved in art. Quin is a member of several clubs at the school, including National Art Honor Society, Youth for Refugees, Women’s Empowerment, Scholars Bowl, Creative Writing Club and Model UN.

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