As a child I loved nothing more than the days when, weeks after our summer holiday had passed, an envelope would come through the door containing all of our photos and we would all sit down to look through them. Admittedly, without digital technology, we would be lucky if my Mums thumb wasn’t covering the lens for at least half of them, if not cropping out our heads entirely, and yet still, there was something pretty special about going through those photos and remembering the fun we’d had.
I loved to watch as my Mum meticulously stuck each photo in a leather bound album, carefully peeling back the cellophane and slotting them in, proudly printing the title on the front, Torquay 1985, Christmas 1989, Laura’s birthday 1991, before slotting them onto the book shelf with the others. And I remember thinking that when I had children of my own, I would do the same.
And I guess I did at first. When Lewis was born I had albums carefully arranged and labelled, first smile, first steps, first birthday. And yet somewhere over the years, as I uploaded my photos from my digital camera to the laptop, I stopped popping to the supermarket to have them printed off, I stopped organising them into special occasions, or holidays, or even years, and before I knew it I had thousands of photos, draining my computer memory, in one big jumble of moments which I never find the time to trawl through.
And it turns out that I’m not the only one. Western Digital My Cloud Home have released research, taken by YouGov between April 10-11 2018, which shows that despite 71% of people saying that family albums were very or fairy important to their family growing up, some 39% have never created family albums of their own and a quarter have not looked at a photo album in over a year.
Amongst all adults who don’t make their own family album (a whopping 47%), the main reasons for them stopping was having too many photos (20%), not having enough time (19%), and not knowing where to start (8%). And I can totally relate to that, it can feel so overwhelming to see tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of photos to go through. So many times I have considered creating albums and then realised that with four children, there will never be enough hours in the day to even attempt to start!
On average although most parents have 4,470 photos on their mobile phones or digital devices (I personally have over 30,00 on my mobile phone alone!), only 30% of parents back up their photos! That thought actually terrifies me to think that, should they lose their phone or accidentally wipe it, those photos will be gone forever.
The research also shows that 39% of UK parents with digital devices are not printing any of their photos, 43% don’t share in social media, 34% don’t send them to others, and 65% of parents are taking the photo rather than appearing in them. This is something I am hugely aware of with being the main photographer in our every day moments, holidays and days out. I sometimes look back at photos and think, in years to come, there is very little to suggest that I was even present? I regret that I have allowed my own insecurities prevent me from being captured in those special moments, and I am trying hard to put that right.
I also found it interesting that 45% of parents who do actually make family albums, use photos that other family members have taken. In that way we aren’t really seeing the full picture of family life, just one perspective. I guess it’s the same as having professional family photo shoots done which, although utterly lovely to have, aren’t always a fair representation of family life looking back. For me, my favourite photos are not the ones where my children are pristine and smiling angelically at the camera, but the ones where their hair is disheveled, their knees are dirty, and their eyes are full of mischief.
With all of this in mind, Western Digital are launching a campaign to bring back the family album, and I am right behind it! Using a My Cloud Home device, an easy to use personal storage device that plugs directly into your Wi-Fi so you can save all of your digital content in one central place, I am hoping to bring back our own family album. I love the idea of establishing old fashioned family values but in a digital world, and I think that’s where My Cloud Home really gives us that advantage.
I will also be joining Western Digital’s idea of a Screening Sunday, where you sit down together to share photos, reminisce and enjoy family time. After all, some photos are way too precious not to share.
I’ll be back next week to let you know how we get on with the My Cloud Home and, in the meantime, if you’d like to join me you can find out more over at My Cloud Home.
** I’m working in a paid relationship with My Cloud Home and BritMums on their Bring Back the Family Album campaign, encouraging families to share and experience their photos and video together. *