Heresy: Printing doesn’t save pictures

Ricoh, bless ‘em, has returned more than 90,000 photos through its "Save the Memory Project," part of its reconstruction support after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, returning photos lost and damaged in the tsunami to their owners. Photos found in the disaster-affected area are cleaned, digitized then stored in the cloud so that people can search them easily. Searches are done on computers at local government photo centres. Once someone has found a photo they lost, the original and all associated data is returned to them. There are more than 400,000 digitized photos on file.

Ricoh, bless ‘em, has returned more than 90,000 photos through its “Save the Memory Project,” part of its reconstruction support after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, returning photos lost and damaged in the tsunami to their owners. Photos found in the disaster-affected area are cleaned, digitized then stored in the cloud so that people can search them easily. Searches are done on computers at local government photo centres. Once someone has found a photo they lost, the original and all associated data is returned to them. There are more than 400,000 digitized photos on file.

Tsunamis. Mudslides. Forest fires. Earthquakes. Volcanoes. Hurricanes and tornadoes. Flaming meteorites. Floods.

It just ain’t safe to live here. And that’s not counting acts of man.

Your pictures don’t stand a chance, whether you leave them on your computer’s hard drive, a memory card, or in the Cloud, or whether you print them on archival paper or 5-and-dime store paper, keep them under lock and key in a bank vault or in a shoebox in the cupboard.

It’s a platitude – and one I’ll admit I have used frequently – that you have to print your pictures if you want to keep them. If one of the above disasters comes down upon your head, ain’t nuthin’ going to measure up in the picture life-saving department.

Oh, true, those prints which aren’t burned or washed away can be salvaged, although they probably won’t look as good as they did coming out of the printer.

So, don’t bother printing? Nope. Not saying that. Quite the opposite. It’s a matter of statistics and odds.

Odds are your precious digital images stored on that hard drive won’t last much longer than a few years. Same for that memory card. Presumably cloud storage has several orders of redundant backup, but that’s assuming the company stays in business and keeps the servers’ hard drives spinning. There have been companies which have pulled the plug, notifying their customers they had x amount of time to do something with their pictures stored on the corporate hard drives . . . or else see them deleted . . . sorry . . .

Printing your favourite images, whether as 4×6 prints or larger, or in a photobook, gives you another chance to save those precious pictures. Beat the odds. Store your pictures in the cloud and make a photobook.

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