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a blog by Chris Barrow


Something happened at yesterday’s funeral that got me thinking.

During the reception at The Axe and Cleaver in Dunham Massey, 2 photo-albums appeared, full of family shots dating back to the 1940’s.

If perused, an almost complete journal of Ethel’s life and that of the extended Broome and Barrow families at that time. 

We amused ourselves by putting adult names to baby faces and guessing locations.

In all, probably no more than a hundred photographs from a life well lived. Photographs painstakingly taken, developed and mounted.

Three points:

  1. since 2003 Annie and I have amassed a collection of over 9,000 photos which I constantly struggle to decide where to store (my hard drive is longer big enough). On a spare hard drive? On Dropbox? Via one or more of the on-line services such as Flickr, SmugMug, Picasa? The reality is I have used them all over time and there are various collections of the same photos scattered around the cloud.

  2. That’s 9,000 photos in 10 years and I suspect that the count for the average PC, tablet and smartphone user could easily be the same. All easily taken and stored with cameras and devices that do all of the work for us.

  3. Back at home I was prompted to open an old briefcase that contains photos accumulated by my late parents (see above). I’m a little embarrassed to say that said briefcase has remained unopened in a corner of The Bunker for 2 years – well in the “round to it” department. In here are memories of not just my parent’s lives but also some of their close family – and my own childhood. My father served in The Royal Navy in the early 50’s and I know that in there he has some astonishing photos of naval visits to the early Gulf States – before the oil.

My final thought was thus:

What will be doing in 70 years from now when a family member passes?

What will be the 2083 version of passing a battered photo album around at the pub?

Will the technology that we use now to store photos in the cloud be obsolete – and, if so, will my 9,000 photos have been lost in an unusable hard drive or a portion of the cloud that died along with a defunct server many years before?

What form will the domestic museums of the future take?

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