Turning back the pages: Photos are important

It is very exciting for me to pick up a package from the mailbox that is addressed to the Golden Museum because we never know what treasures it will contain. Information in the following article was shared by Jean Blaine, a member of the Bergenham family.

The expression “Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words” appears in a 1911 newspaper article quoting newspaper editor Arthur Brisbane discussing journalism and publicity. That phrase is so true in the business that I work in. The first thing we do after having a close look at a photo is to turn it over to see if there is any information written on the back. Then we look for clues within the photo itself. If it’s outside: are there any landmarks, or mountains? We can’t change the mountains so they are a good indicator as to where the photo was taken. We look for buildings or people and in the case of the photo that is here, which came with this gift from the Bergenham family, we see a building in the background with part of a name on it. As we know the Bergenham family lived in Moberly, so it’s not hard to connect the two.

These photos are so important to our understanding of our most recent history and I worry that we won’t be leaving the same evidence behind for people looking back in 100 years.

Today we see more photos and share more photos than we ever have before, but there is a difference. We seldom print the photos we take anymore. Our shelves are no longer filled with photo albums or boxes of pictures waiting to be placed in photo albums. Why is that? Digital cameras!

We no longer have to wait for the film to arrive in the mail, or to send the film out for printing. We just shoot and can view the pictures right away. Most digital cameras come with large cards that can hold hundreds if not thousands of pictures and cellphones with cameras make it even easier to capture images. We send those captured images off to other family members who view them on their cell phones and this happens all in a matter of minutes. We have no reason to print the pictures because everyone you would have shown has seen it.

Most people who are using this technology today have their photos backed up onto their home computers or hard drives but consider this: 83 per cent of us use photos to connect with past memories, yet 65 per cent of us do not print and keep our photos anymore. 77 per cent no longer make photo albums and 37 per cent have lost important images through the loss of digital data. Amongst 16-24-year-olds, a startling 70 per cent report having lost important images through reliance on digital cameras that have either failed or been lost.

When was the last time you printed off your favorite pictures from a weekend away, a wedding or other family event? When was the last time that you made a photo album of a family holiday or stuck a nice portrait on the mantelpiece?

The three main reasons that people don’t print pictures anymore are cost, less time and less storage but at what cost? In 100 years’ time, what photographic history will you have left behind for your family to bring to the museum?

How can you help ensure that the museum has something to show your grand-children? Email copies of your photos to the museum. Special events around town, construction of new buildings, changes to old ones, weddings, concerts, openings! Email them to museum.golden@gmail.com or bring them in on a stick and we will make transfers to our hard drive. All photos will be credited to the original photographer. We are presently looking for photos from the 1950s to the 1990s.


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