This past weekend I started cleaning out my living room for a yard sale I'll be putting stuff in soon. I was going through all the bins, shelves and stuff I never really take the time to even look at any more. Everything there has become tchotchkes even if they weren't mean to be.
I started digging through an old bin of DVD's and came across CD's labeled "14th Birthday", "Florida Vacation" and "Freshman Year" and more. I had compleatly forgotten I had them and was so excited to see what was on each one that I grabbed my laptop (the only thing in my house that even reads a CD) and popped them in.
The first couple I went through were fantastic throw backs to a fun vacation my mom, brother and I took to Cider Point. One had evidence of the hot second I was in color guard and another of really bad haircuts and makeup with a side of epic toe socks from my 15th birthday party. It brought back so many moments I had compleatly forgotten about. There were even some I found that had images I thought I had lost, like images of me as a kid with relatives who have since then passed.
However, as I kept going through them there seamed to be one thing that was clear. CD's corroded and become unreadable quite quickly. Even if they are protected in sleeves like mine were. ( ps. This is also why I don't offer them :) )
Since starting photography, I've gained a new found love for printing and being able to hold an actual finished image in your hands that you can show off to y our friends. Something more than just a flash drive or CD. No one is ever impressed by a CD or Flash drive... Trust me.
This weekends find made it even more clear to me how important it is to print your images out. Even if it's just a 4x6. The fact that I can no longer see what was on those 7 CD's of images kind of makes my heart hurt. That is my history, things I saw as important and photos of people I knew along the years.
I bet you're saying... "Well yeah, CD's are kinda crappy anyway. So duh, I'm sure that happened"
Well... My lovely friend. I agree with you (and If I was paying attention I'd have grabbed the images off of them sooner) but that brings me to another point. Flash drives will eventually do the same. Maybe not nearly as fast, but they will.
Even the cloud we store our lives on is bound to go away some day or (Heaven forbid) go offline in some way and we would have nothing left but a wish that we had printed some of them.
So really what I'm getting at is print the images you think are important and save backups of them some where safe. Don't just go straight to digitals or CD's. I don't want you feeling the way I did this weekend when I couldn't open the files on my CD's.