On Day 120 of the Nowhere To Be Project, I discovered that I have nearly fifteen thousand travel photographs trapped inside my digital cloud. A snap here and another there has turned me into a digital hoarder. I purchased my first digital camera about ten years ago and since then my treasured memories have become bits and bites of data that I rarely see. Although it is nice to know that I have so many memories protected and stored digitally, somehow this modern convenience does not bring me the same level of satisfaction that I get from turning the pages of the countless albums of old printed photographs. Looking through much loved albums that feature new babies, weddings and childhood vacations thrills me in a way that few other things can. So on this day I asked myself, ‘if I never see the digital photographs what was the point of taking them to begin with’? With that, I decided to free the photos and began searching for the best way to do so.
I purchased a pocket printer about a year ago to print directly from my smart phone and it is convenient and simple to use. The downside of it though is that the photographs are very small and without my trifocals, I can’t tell who or what is featured. Companies like Costco and Walgreens still house photo labs within their walls, but it isn’t as simple as dropping off the exhausted roll of film like I did back in the old days. To print my photographs, I must upload each shot remotely to a website. The photographs are then printed and held for pickup or shipped. Online companies like Amazon, Snapfish, Shutterfly and Mpix offer printing as well and include countless options for turning treasured moments into tangible goods like hardbound albums, tote bags, mugs, and invitations. I am an Amazon Prime member and a quick glance showed me that their prices were the lowest. Pair that with the free cloud storage and free shipping and it might be hard to beat. Despite this, I’ll likely try a few companies with smallish orders to compare quality before committing all 15,000 moments to the behemoth that is Amazon.
So now begins the process of organizing, editing, formatting and uploading. The thought of flipping through the printed pages of years of journeys with a nice cup of tea is the motivation that will keep me steady through the process of freeing my travel photographs from digital purgatory. How do you manage your travel photos?