The way we capture our lives has changed over the past fifty years.

There are old photo albums in houses around Brisbane with plastic sheets protecting the photos. Some photos are slid into a pocket, others are held down on adhesive board. In those albums there are shots that we might all have, like: holding a koala at Lone Pine; visiting the Big Pineapple or the Big Banana; posing for the family portrait; and, the holiday at the beach.

But how we document our lives has changed dramatically.

Key dates in our photo history

1963 – coloured film became available for our cameras but it wasn’t until the 1970s that colour photographs became really prolific.

1980 – Sony released the first home camcorder allowing us to film our lives.

1984 – Canon released the first digital camera to the public;

1988 – FujiFILM released the world’s first digital camera with removable media. Polaroid introduced a camera which developed the photo straight from the camera.

1990s – the first mobile phones with cameras were launched in Japan and soon arrived in Australia. Cameras as we know it became largely obsolete for personal photos.

2005+ – birth of the selfie (self-portrait) and the obsession with taking our own photo.

2011 – the selfie stick hit the USA and is just catching on here. It was listed in Time magazine’s 25 best inventions of 2014.

How we store the photo evidence of our lives

Gone are the days of storing photos in albums or shoe boxes. Now we are sending them to the ‘Cloud’ or backing them up on USB sticks or storage drives. We display them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, our blogs, websites, Pinterest—often sent straight from our phones.

Events and milestones are now captured by hundreds or sometimes thousands of people on their phones and circulated in minutes. Which begs the question, do we record our
lives for ourselves or for others to witness? In coming decades will we be accountable for our lives from the public photo trail?

The good and the bad

The old way (albums/printed photos)
Greater risk of being damaged
Need space for storage
Often got lost during moves and from generation to generation
Costly with film and developing charges
We did not know until printed if the shot was useable

The new way (digital)
Easy to store, distribute and manipulate (good or bad?)
Can be accidently deleted
Cheap to produce (no developing required)
The shot can be checked and taken again if it didn’t work

Do you have a preference? Love having all your photos in albums or are you now a fan of digital photo storage? Let us know in the comments below…