Family photos are a generational thing

A subset of a "beach" search in my Google Photos library.

I love this video from Google Photos. It captures the generational differences when it comes to family photos perfectly!

I am definitely more on the “take-a-gazillion-photos-and-put-them-into-albums-that-some-fancy-technology-can-index-for-me-for-later” category when it comes to family photos!

Where my photos go these days

Why Flickr is better than Google Photos

My photos are typically uploaded to Flickr and Google Photos by default. I also sometimes share albums on Facebook but I don’t have complete archives there at all. I also make multiple backups of my primary photo library and RAW files because I am more than a little neurotic about losing my family photos.

At the same time, I love living in a time where we can take so many great photos and share them so easily. Having machine learning systems go through our photos and make them so accessible, despite taking 23 photos of the same sunset, is amazing.

Google Photos definitely has the edge when it comes to identifying what is in our photos. As long as I have my Flickr (and other) backups for full resolution images, I’m happy to keep sending all my photos to Google Photos too.

Smarter photo albums with Google Photos

Not sold on Apple Photos yet

I haven’t used Apple Photos much. The libraries tend to become pretty big. My current edited library is about 128GB. That is stored in Flickr in full resolution (I uploaded most of that when we arrived in Israel – a decent upload capacity and no data caps is a must) and in Amazon S3.

I don’t really see me using Apple Photos for my full library. For one thing, I don’t have the drive capacity for that on my current MacBook Air. For another, iCloud storage pricing is still relatively expensive compared to other storage options. Still, I created a small Apple Photos library to play around with the new Apple Photos app.

One of the changes that I like is that I don’t have to replicate my photos in the Apple Photos library. I can “import” photos that I have stored on different drives without actually moving or copying them. That saves a lot of space.

That said, Apple Photos still seems to take up a lot of extra space on my drive relative to the imported photos. At the same time, the library may seem to be relatively big because I activated the Photos iCloud Library and it is importing photos shared through my iPhone and iPad.

I probably need to play around with Apple Photos and use a bigger subset of my library to get a better sense of how much space it will actually use once I’ve accounted for my iCloud library.

Those old family slides

Old memories with my Dad

My current mission is to have about 150-200 slides from my childhood scanned and added to my digital library. The big challenge with older generations’ photos is that there either aren’t many or they are in physical formats that will only degrade over time.

The slides are mostly in pretty good shape and there are a lot of amazing memories in there. So much I have forgotten from my childhood.

My Grand Plan is actually to co-ordinate with my brother and sister to have all the slides they have from my mother digitised and shared as a collected family archive.

When I look at photos of my parents’ childhoods, I’m struck by how few I have access to and just how few there are altogether. It isn’t quite as bad as the great grandfather in the Google Photos video with just two photos in his whole life but there really aren’t many photos going back a couple generations.

If anything, our kids will have too many photos of our lives and theirs but, hopefully, machine learning will keep developing and the (likely) terabytes of family photos we leave for them when we eventually leave this life will become a rich and valued archive of memories.

By Paul

Enthusiast, writer, Happiness Engineer at Automattic. I take photos too. Passionate about my wife, Gina and #proudDad.

9 comments

  1. BeingAngel – South Africa – Wife, mom, cupcake maven, Guide Dog puppy raiser, ADHD champion, wedding planner and tattooed cat slave.
    Angel Conradie says:

    I also like Google photos, and having lost waaay too many photos to theft and laptop crashes in the past I am also always checking that my photos are stored safely somewhere.
    I also have hundreds of slides I want to digitise, so if you find a good way to do it I would love to know!

    1. Paul Jacobson – Modiin, Israel – Enthusiast, writer, Happiness Engineer at @automattic. I take photos too. Passionate about my wife, Gina and #proudDad.
      Paul says:

      Apparently Orms in Cape Town can digitise slides. I’m sure there must be labs in Joburg too.

  2. It’s time to either renew or cancel my Flickr Pro subscription. I have my doubts about whether it is worth spending the $50 to renew so I thought I’d explore my options in this post.

  3. Something about John Berger‘s quote about “[w]hat makes photography a strange invention” really appeals to me. He apparently made this remark in response to Susan Sontag’s book, “On Photography”:

    What makes photography a strange invention is that its primary raw materials are light and time.

    PhotoQuotes has a slightly different version of Berger’s quote:

    What makes photography a strange invention – with unforeseeable consequences – is that its primary raw materials are light and time.

    The Art of Creative Photography has a short piece about Berger and his perspective on photography along with links to parts of a TV documentary Berger participated in. I haven’t watched the series yet but it looks fascinating.

    Ways Of Seeing

    I don’t think I heard of John Berger before today and that is a pity. I noticed that he passed away yesterday at the age of 90. The Guardian paid tribute to his work late yesterday:

    Susan Sontag once described Berger as peerless in his ability to make “attentiveness to the sensual world” meet “imperatives of conscience”. Jarvis Cocker, to mark a recent book of essays about Berger, said: “There are a few authors that can change the way you look at the world through their writing and John Berger is one of them.”

    One of his passages from his book “Keeping a Rendezvous” touches on my passion for documenting my life and my family, partly as a way of maintaining a memory of each moment I capture:

    All photographs are there to remind us of what we forget. In this -as in other ways- they are the opposite of paintings. Paintings record what the painter remembers. Because each one of us forgets different things, a photo more than a painting may change its meaning according to who is looking at it.

    Listener, grinder of lenses, poet, painter, seer. My Guide. Philosopher. Friend. John Berger left us this morning. Now you are everywhere.— Simon McBurney (@SimonMcBurney) January 2, 2017

    Image credit: Life in Shadows by Sippanont Samchai, licensed CC BY NC ND 2.0Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading…

  4. Paul Jacobson – Modiin, Israel – Enthusiast, writer, Happiness Engineer at @automattic. I take photos too. Passionate about my wife, Gina and #proudDad.
    Paul says:

    Jamie Rubin wrote a thought-provoking post on his blog about his accumulated library of photographs, and his thoughts about what to do with it. The problem is that I am not organized about my photos the way I am in other parts of my life. I’ve made reluctant attempts at organization now and then, but […]

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