We live in a high-tech world, but I am not always prepared for it. Today my daughter and her new husband sent out their wedding pictures... electronically. It is a Picasa photo album on the web.
I'm thrilled that she could share those pictures so easily with friends and relatives. She doesn't need to wait for guests to come visit before she can pull out the photo album to show the pictures. Today's technology allows for fast and convenient distribution. In fact, everyone can keep a copy of as many pictures as they wish on their own computers, something not easily accomplished a few years ago.
At the same time, I have to wonder about long-term preservation.
To be sure, the photographers did present the newly-married couple with both a CD-ROM with digital images and an old-fashioned photo album containing many large, glossy prints of the pictures. I am not certain what kind of photography paper or ink was used to print those photographs, but, hopefully, the photographers used archival quality materials.
I am not as concerned about the CD-ROM as those are easy to back up on a regular basis and keep them for centuries. (Yes, digital images can be preserved for centuries if a few basic archival procedures are followed.) The couple already has made multiple copies of the digital images, given several to friends and relatives, and stored at least two copies on two separate web sites: one on Picasa and another on a privately-owned web site. While it is possible for Picasa or other web sites to go out of business and for the photos to disappear from the online servers, having multiple copies on multiple web sites and CD-ROM and hard drive copies in multiple friends' and relatives' homes would seem to ensure long-term survival.
In addition, I back up all of my photographs daily to multiple locations, including the new wedding photographs. Copies of my daughter's wedding photographs are now being backed up daily on my Mac. I have written before about my backup methods.
Wedding photographs are amongst the most prized possessions of any couple, and I suspect they will be preserved, regardless of the format used. However, I wonder about "second-level" photographs: pictures of family vacations, children's school pictures, graduation photos, and more. Are they always stored in multiple locations and in multiple formats?
Today's move to technology solutions is generally a good idea but it does entail a few drawbacks. In the past, we have learned that black-and-white photographs generally last a long time while color photographs often fade within a few years. How about your digital photographs? Will you still have access to them in the future? Will your great-grandchildren be able to do the same with your photographs?
By the way, if you would like to see a beautiful bride (I may be a bit biased), take a look at http://tinyurl.com/nbzwkb. You might want to click on "Slideshow." The old (but proud) geezer in the black suit would be me.
You'll note that the bride and I, along with all the bridesmaids, arrived at the wedding by boat.